April 10, 2002 11:00 pm

The Students in Free Enterprise team took only three years to rise from a newly formed program to regional champions.

Eastern Oregon Universitys SIFE team traveled to Seattle last week and came away with the championship trophy. Eighteen schools from Oregon, Washington, California, Montana, and Idaho participated.

In its division, Eastern competed against Alaska Pacific University, Montana State University, Walla Walla College, Western Washington University and the College of the Siskiyous.

The SIFE team, formed in 1999-2000, was selected Rookie of the Year at the 2000 regionals. Fridays award marked the highest placing the school has achieved. EOU was given a trophy, along with $1,500 and the opportunity to participate at the nationals May 12-14 in Kansas City, Mo.

The team was given an honorable mention for a special national contest for a project where SIFE members taught college students on the responsible use of credit.

We were just concerned that we would do well at regionals, said SIFE adviser Ted Atkinson, assistant professor of business. The students did a fantastic job. Their presentation was done very professionally.

The team presented its 2002 annual report, giving an overview of what it had done throughout the 2001-02 school year ranging from activities and fund-raisers to projects on and off campus. The projects had to be geared for the community and students from kindergarten through college.

Eastern participated against some schools with much larger enrollments, said Atkinson. EOU has 2,500 students.

The team will look at fund-raisers to help pay the costs of attending the national championship.

Now we must figure out how were going to raise $6,000 to $7,000 for the championships, Atkinson said. The $1,500 for winning at regionals will go toward that.

Nationals will feature 16 divisions with up to 10 teams per division. The winner of each division advances to a semifinal and finals round, with the overall winner advancing to the international championships Sept. 22-24 in The Netherlands.

EOU regionals team members: Andy Tran, president (sr., Juneau, Alaska), Andrew Baldwin, co-vice president (fr., Glenns Ferry, Idaho), Jake Ranklin, co-vice president (sr., Baker City and White Salmon, Wash.), Mandy Nolz, treasurer (sr., Molalla), Sharon Tyrell, secretary (jr., Union), Jeremy Plummer (jr., Hoquiam, Wash.), Brian Barry (sr., Hoquiam, Wash.), Brandon Larson (jr., Spokane, Wash.), Jeff Mallory (sr., Gresham), Vicky Ghio (jr., Silverton), Kelly Fox (jr., Norich, N.Y.), Mackenzie Neiger (sr., Portland), and Akiko Suzuki (jr., Japan).