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Stephanie Tengram was destined to be a Sooner. Crimson runs deep in her family’s bloodline. Tengram’s grandfather, mother, sister, aunt and cousins all have degrees from the University of Oklahoma. Now it is her turn to extend the legacy.
On route to joining OU, Tengram had a two-year stop at Pittsburg State. After receiving valuable playing time, Tengram decided it was time to pursue a transfer to the school that seemed to be the most natural.
“Growing up I always thought I’d attend OU,” said Tengram. “Once I decided to leave Pitt State, it just felt right to send my tapes to OU and pursue going to the school where so much of my family graduated.”
Tengram was a late arrival to volleyball. She excelled at soccer as a youngster and did not start competing in volleyball until high school.
“For a while, I really thought I was going to concentrate on soccer in high school because it presented me with the best chance of playing for a big college program,” stated Tengram.
In Tengram’s path to collegiate volleyball, she was convinced to keep playing by her high school coach and OU volleyball alum Kari Bensend (1977-80).
“Coach Bensend was great,” said Tengram. “I really looked up to her and she was a huge influence in my continuation with volleyball in high school. Needless to say, she is very excited about me playing for the Sooners.”
Following the encouragement of her coach, Tengram started her path to OU by becoming a Pittsburg State Gorrilla.
“Pitt State was a really good experience,” said Tengram. “I received two years of collegiate experience. My first year I backed up at setter and my sophomore year I was the starting libero.”
Tengram’s defensive play caught the eye of the Sooner coaching staff and she pursued OU for a transfer. In her first year, Tengram has fallen in love with the University of Oklahoma.
“I really like the spread out campus,” said Tengram. “I have really enjoyable teammates here and I just love the thrill of playing Division I volleyball at a major university.”
The move to OU has worked well for Tengram, but the transition has not come without adversity.
“At Pitt State I received a lot of playing time early,” said Tengram. “Last year I was a full time starter and this year has tested me mentally as I’ve worked my way onto the court.”
Tengram received a lot of court time at Pitt State, but she realized that it takes even more effort on her part to be successful in the Big 12.
“The level of competition is high here,” said Tengram. “To get on the court demands a high level of competitiveness. I’m also playing against some of the most disciplined players that I’ve ever seen.”
The hard work has paid off for Tengram as she’s worked herself into the regular rotation. Tengram has stepped in at defensive specialist and averaged 1.26 digs per game over the last seven matches.
“Getting past the injuries was really challenging,” stated Tengram. “Our coaches stayed positive and were confident in our play as a team. In the Texas A&M game we showed are able to put injuries aside and perform at a high level.”
The born to be Sooner volleyball player has made the long trip to her rightful destination. Following graduation from OU, Tengram is looking forward to her next stop as a high school volleyball coach.
“Becoming a volleyball coach after graduating is the main thing I want to accomplish”, said Tengram, who is majoring in physical education. “Hopefully, I can be a very confident and positive coach like Coach Mahi, while teaching sociology or government in high school.”
Some things are just meant to be and now that the destined Sooner has found her way to Norman, she is settling in and enjoying the experience.
“I’m really happy and excited to be here at OU,” said Tengram. “Things have been working out better than I could have hoped for.”