ASHLAND, Ore.—Jessa Perkinson continues to rewrite the Southern Oregon record book with each passing race.
The distance running sensation padded her resume even more with a record setting cross country season during which she placed first overall in the conference championships, second at the national championships and became a ten-time All-American.
All three feats are bests in SOU history.
"I think a lot of the times I don't really look at the accolades as much as I just think about my personal experience in the race itself and how it felt as opposed to the outcome,” Perkinson said.
The outcomes have been nothing short of spectacular—Perkinson enters the final leg of her senior season as the most decorated athlete in school history.
"There comes a point in time when talent is talent and your expectations go according to that talent and her talent would indicate that she was probably going to be one of the two or three best in the NAIA,” SOU cross country coach Grier Gatlin said. “I'm not so sure that she wouldn't make any Division I team in the United States. Her season went pretty according to plan."
Perkinson now shifts her focus to the upcoming track and field season, which will be her final opportunity to suit up in a Raider uniform. With her name all over the record book, her vision is to reincorporate the 5K and 10K races back into her regimen with the hopes of qualifying for the US Championships in June.
"She keeps exceeding every expectation that I think I'm going to have for her. I've learned to just kind of shove those aside so we'll see. I think she has a chance on the outside to qualify for either the 5K or the 10K," Gatlin said.
"I haven't ran the 10K since my sophomore year so I'm really excited to try again. I have lofty goals for big PRs," Perkinson said.