NORMAN -- The Oklahoma Softball program and the University of Oklahoma Women’s Softball Diamond Club will host the annual Meet the Team Banquet on Friday, Feb. 3 at the Embassy Suites Hotel & Conference Center in Norman. Fans will have the chance to meet the defending national champions and hear from head coach Patty Gasso as the team prepares for its season opener Feb. 9 at the Puerto Vallarta Collegiate Classic.
Doors open at 6 p.m. with the event to begin at 7 p.m. During that hour, former Sooners All-American Keilani Ricketts will be signing autographs, and a photo booth will be available for fans to take pictures with the team and the national championship trophy. Members of the 2016 senior class are also scheduled to be in attendance.
Other highlights of the event include a silent auction and a presentation where members of the team will receive their 2016 national championship rings.
The banquet is open to the public and tickets are $45 for adults and $20 for children 6-12 year old. The event is free to children under six years of age. Tickets can be purchased by contacting OU Director of Operations, Jackie Livingston, at 405-325-8377 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Fans are encouraged to RSVP by Jan. 27.
OU is coming off a season in which the Sooners won their third national title, becoming just the third team ever to accomplish the feat. Oklahoma is also the five-time defending Big 12 champion, a run never before seen in the conference. The Sooners finished the 2016 season with a 57-8 record as they made their 10 appearance at the Women’s College World Series.
The team loses five seniors from last year's squad in 2017, but returns Paige Parker, a first-team All-American and the WCWS’ Most Outstanding Player, and second-team All-American Shay Knighten.
In addition to Parker and Knighten, returning all-region honorees include juniors Kelsey Arnold and Lea Wodach and sophomores Fale Aviu, Caleigh Clifton and Sydney Romero. Oklahoma also welcomes in seven newcomers, including a five-person freshman class and transfers Paige Lowary (Missouri) and Hannah Sparks (Northwest Florida State College).