GREAT FALLS, Mont. - Warrenton graduate Wes Balensifer, a junior at Southern Oregon, placed fifth at 285 pounds in last weekend's NAIA Wrestling Championships in Great Falls, Mont.
The fifth-place showing earned Balensifer All-American honors, while Southern Oregon took fifth place in the team standings with 112.5 points (27 behind team champion Missouri Valley and 15 off the pace of fourth-place Menlo, Calif.).
It was the Raiders' 15th top-five national showing over the past 22 years.
Balensifer capped the tournament with a 9-1 decision over Brandon Lemer of Jamestown (N.D.) College in the consolation fifth-place match.
Balensifer had opened the tourney with three straight victories, including a quarterfinal pin over Tanner Schweitzer of Mary (N.D.) in 4:08.
Roger Miller of Lindenwood (Mo.) University posted a 5-1 over Balensifer in the championship semifinals, dropping Balensifer into the consolation round, where the former Warrior lost a 4-2 decision to Southern Oregon teammate Mike Whitehead, before rebounding with a win in the fifth-place match.
Before nationals, Balensifer had defeated Whitehead - the top-ranked junior heavyweight - 3-2 in a regional tournament final.
Brian Bruney - In ESPN's minor league baseball scouting report, the ex-Warrenton right-hander is called the "Key Sleeper" in the Arizona Diamondbacks' farm system.
Says ESPN, Bruney "hits 98 mph on occasion, much harder than most Arizona pitching prospects, plus he harnessed his control last year, posting a 68/21 strikeouts/walks ratio in 60 innings. Saved 10 at Class A South Bend, and could be a future closer."
DeeDee ArnallDeeDee Arnall - The 2002 Warrenton graduate completed her first year of college basketball as the fifth-leading scorer at Pacific University, despite starting just one game.
In 20 games this season, Arnall scored 117 points (5.9 per game), and was second on the team in field goal percentage (.480, 49-of-102).
Arnall was also fourth in rebounding (3.7 per game) and third in blocked shots, with five blocks on the season.
Dusty McGrorty - In one final note from fall sports, McGrorty was named NAIA All-American in football for the first time, despite three consecutive 1,000-yard, 15-plus touchdown seasons at Southern Oregon.
In 2002, the former Warrior set SOU records for career (724) and season (291) carries, led the country with a career-best 156-yard rushing average and finished sixth nationally for scoring (10.2 points per game).
McGrorty was named as the Raiders' Offensive Most Valuable Player and Most Valuable Back.
In what was thought to be an impossible task for anyone only three seasons ago, McGrorty is in position to break the school and regional rushing records established by three-time All-American running back Griff Yates (1996-99).
McGrorty finished the 2002 season needing only 848 yards and four touchdowns to surpass Yates and becoming the greatest rusher and scorer in Northwest small-college history.
Yates rushed for 4,559 yards (McGrorty has 3,712), while Yates scored 60 touchdowns to McGrorty's 57.
SOU finished sixth in the national NAIA rankings.