NAIA top-ranked Southern Oregon men XC team ready for Stanford Invite

ASHLAND ( – Three weeks after its first meet of the 2012 season, the nationally-ranked Southern Oregon cross country program returns to competition Saturday at the Stanford Invite.

Southern Oregon has ranked first in every NAIA men’s cross country poll this season, and the Raiders backed it up in their first competition when they won the team title and Eric Avila (Chula Vista, Calif./Bonita Vista) earned the individual crown at the Humboldt State Invitational on Sept. 8.

“We have a chance to do some really big things this weekend, both at the Stanford Invitational and up at the Charles Bowles Invite at Willamette University,” Gatlin said.

“Both our men’s and women’s teams down at Stanford will have a real opportunity to test the waters against some very good competition, with great NCAA Division I and II programs.”

Gatlin decided to split his men’s team into two groups with the second going to Salem for the Charles Bowles Invitational and he expects both group to do well.

“Our goal for the men’s team is to be in the top five for both meets,” he said.

“That would be a big feather in our cap, to be in the top five in two of the biggest cross country races in the United States on the same day with two teams would be a big deal and that’s our goal.”