Oct. 6, 2009
NORMAN, Okla. -- Several elite athletes have walked around the University of Oklahoma campus throughout the countless successful years in Sooner athletics. Most recently, Sam Bradford, Blake Griffin, Courtney Paris and Jonathan Horton, among others, have stolen the headlines.
For the 2009 Sooner soccer team, junior forward Whitney Palmer has become that superstar, gaining recognition not only in the Big 12 Conference but also on the national scene.
Heading into the eighth week of the season, Palmer has posted 12 goals, including scores in each of the last four games, a streak that is tied for an OU record. What is even more impressive is that the 12 goals is tied for second in the country and is also the second highest total for a Sooner in a single season (13 - Logan Womack – 2001).
The 2009 season has featured the Plano, Texas, native, evolving into one of the top forwards in the country. She started playing soccer at age five and when Palmer stepped foot on campus, she excited fans with her quickness as a freshman and scored six goals, including four game winners. Two years and 20 goals later, Palmer continues to cause havoc on opposing defenses every weekend.
“Whitney Palmer is a program changer,” said OU Head Coach Nicole Nelson following Palmer’s two-goal performance in the 3-2 upset over then-No. 13 Texas A&M. “She is arguably the best forward in this conference and she showed it today. She is a handful to deal with."
She already ranks among the program's most prolific goal scorers in OU history as a junior, currently ranking second on the Sooners’ all-time list. Earlier this year against Tulsa, she became just the second player in school history to record a hat trick.
But the two-time All-Big 12 honoree doesn’t focus on all of the individual stats and accolades. Palmer and the rest of the Sooners are determined to help take the team back into the postseason.
“Not too much,” said Palmer when asked if she thinks about her name in the record books. “I just go into the game just wanting to get our team out with a win. I just try my hardest to come out and play as hard as I can every game.”
Palmer has helped Oklahoma accomplish just that. The Sooners have doubled their win total from a year ago and currently stand at 6-6-1 overall with six regular season games remaining.
“Whitney has had an exceptional year,” Nelson said. “She continues to get better. Every day. Every week.”