For immediate release 

PORTLAND, Oregon (July 30) -- The George Pasero Team of the Year award is beginning to become synonymous with Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT) athletics. 

On Tuesday, the NAIA member school captured its fifth Pasero honor, the most among Oregon’s Division II, Division III and NAIA universities and community colleges. 

And this time around, a newcomer crashed the party. 

The Oregon Sports Awards voting panel awarded the OIT women’s cross country team with one of three George Pasero Team of the Year honors after the Lady Owls won their first-ever NAIA National Championship in November. It’s the first time either OIT men’s or women’s cross country/track and field have won the award, which was incepted in 2007. 

The Lady Owls join OIT men’s basketball (2008, 2012, 2013) and softball (2011) on the Pasero record books.  

Sport Oregon and NBC Sports Northwest also presented Southern Oregon University softball and University of Oregon women’s basketball with George Pasero Team of the Year honors on Tuesday.  

The award is reserved for teams who have won national and/or world championships or have received national acclaim. 

Award criteria and past winners 

The Lady Owls’ cross country season was one for the ages on a number of levels. OIT claimed the NAIA crown with a combined score of 125 points to edge second and third-place finishers Madonna University (Michigan, 132 points) and Taylor University (Indiana, 134 points).  

Suzie Garza (17:36), Cindy Reed (17:37) and Danielle De Castro (17:49) placed fourth, fifth, and 12th, respectively, to stake the Lady Owls to the title and garner All-American honors.  

OIT entered the championship meet ranked No 1 in the NAIA Cross Country Coaches’ Top-25 after winning its second straight Cascade Collegiate Conference (CCC) Championship. The Lady Owls’ repeat first-place finish at the CCC Championships marked the first time the program has accomplished the feat. 

Reed (17:38), named the NAIA West Region Indoor Track Athlete of the Year in February, Garza (17:40) and De Castro (17:56) teamed to post a 1-2-3 finish in the race. Reed was named the CCC Runner of the Year following the race. OIT cross country and track and field head coach Jack Kegg was presented with CCC Women’s Coach of the Year honors as well. 

Kegg was also named the US Track and Field Coach of the Year in November. 

The Lady Owls were named the NAIA Cross Country Scholar Team of the Year in November. The team posted a 3.67 grade point average. 

In June, OIT women’s cross country and track and field was named the NAIA’s No. 2 overall combined program by USTFCCA. 

Sport Oregon, which manages the Oregon Sports Awards, and NBC Sports Northwest have partnered to announce all awards on live television throughout July. Award announcements began on July 8 and conclude on Wednesday with winner reveals for the Prep Boys Basketball Player of the Year, Prep Girls X-Country Runner of the Year, Prep Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year, Bill Hayward Female Amateur Athlete of the Year and Harry Glickman Professional Athletes of the Year. 

Click here to access NBC Sports Northwest’s highlight reel clips of each on-air interview. 

Presenting sponsor: HP

State Champion Sponsors: NBC Sports Northwest Nike Pamplin Media Group Portland Thorns Portland Timbers Portland Trail Blazers Providence Heath and Services Washington Trust Bank

About Sport Oregon

Sport Oregon’s mission is to drive economic growth and enhance Oregon’s quality of life through sports.  Our non-profit organization has served as the state’s sports economic development arm for more than two decades, injecting more than $350 million into Oregon’s economy through sports tourism.

Supported by more than 150 annual members, Sport Oregon works relentlessly to enhance the state’s economy and quality of life by attracting sports events and franchises.  Sport Oregon’s major achievements include securing the NCAA Basketball Tournament, Davis Cup World Final, multiple U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Women’s World Cup Soccer and the Dew Tour.  Sport Oregon was recognized as “Sports Commission of the Year” in 2010 by the National Association of Sports Commissions.  View a complete list of Past Events and Future Events.

Learn more about opportunities to become involved with Sport Oregon by becoming a membervolunteering or joining Sport Oregon’s Young Professionals Board.

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Brady Johnson 

Sport Oregon 

P: 503-313-5129 

E: braden@sportoregon.org