NORMAN — Joined by friends, family and supporters, the Oklahoma track and field team celebrated a successful 2016-17 season and looked forward to the year ahead at the seventh annual Spike Club Banquet on Friday night.
Held at the National Weather Service Building, the banquet highlighted the past year’s achievements with dinner and awards while previewing the upcoming season. Head Coach Jim VanHootegem highlighted the team’s competitive 2018 schedule and introduced the 38 newest members of the squad.
Dylan Blankenbaker, Hayden McClain and Jess Woodard were honored at the banquet for earning first team All-America accolades last season, and Payton Baker, Leya Buchanan, Daunicia Demerson, Ama Pipi, Daye Shon Roberson, Baileh Simms and Amanda Van Buren were recognized for their second team All-America honors.
Simms and Everette Favor were presented with the 2017 Owen Hewett Award. The highest award given by the OU track and field program, the award recognizes excellence in competition and in the classroom. Started in 1990 by former OU head coach J.D. Martin, the award embodies the characteristics of the ultimate student-athlete. It is awarded annually to a male and female who hold a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better and are outstanding performers in track and field.
The Sooners also celebrated academic successes during the 2016-17 season. During the 2016 cross country campaign, 13 runners were named to the Academic All-Big 12 team and one earned USTFCAA Academic All-America merit. From the track and field season, 31 individuals were named to the 2017 Academic All-Big 12 Teams, and eight student-athletes earned USTFCCCA Academic All-America honors. Additionally, Favor was named the Co-Big 12 Scholar Athlete of the Year for men’s track and field.
In addition to individual awards, the men’s and women’s cross country teams and the women’s track and field team earned USTFCCA All-Academic team honors.
Finally, Senior Associate Athletics Director Zac Selmon and event emcees Kris Glenn and Robert Castleberry wrapped up the annual event by thanking the Spike Club for all it does to support the OU track and field program.