NORMAN, Okla. -- In a cramped locker room in Boulder, Colo., on Nov. 15, 1986, with his team huddled around him, when Barry Switzer delivered his in famous line: “People don’t know what it is to be champions. Oklahoma invented it.”
Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013, the University of Oklahoma and Sooner fans will honor a few people who do know what it is to be a champion.
NCAA national champions Tia Brooks, Chirapat Jao-Javanil, Kendric Maple and Michael Squires, USA Softball National Player of the Year and Honda Cup winner Keilani Ricketts, the back-to-back Big 12 champion OU men’s tennis team and OU Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Joe Castiglione will be recognized during OU’s home finale football game versus Iowa State.
Arguably the most decorated student-athlete in OU track and field history, Tia Brooks ended her Sooner career as a four-time national champion in the shot put. Her titles in the indoor and outdoor NCAA Championships in 2013 were record setters. She set the women’s collegiate and NCAA meet record with her indoor effort (63 feet, 0.75 inches) and the NCAA meet record with her outdoor mark (62-0.50). The 2012 Olympian became the first OU track and field athlete in school history to claim four national individual titles. She was a six-time Big 12 champion in the shot put and finished her career as a seven-time NCAA All-American.
Chirapat Jao-Javanil entered the 2012 NCAA Women’s Golf Championships as the country's 59th-ranked golfer. Four days later she finished the tournament as OU's first-ever women's golf national champion. Jao-Javanil, who is from Thailand, shot a final-round 2-under-par 70 to finish atop the 126-player leaderboard and defeat second-place Brooke Pancake of Alabama by a comfortable four shots. The win for Jao-Javanil -- her third in 11 tournaments that year -- catapulted OU to a tie for sixth place out of 24 teams, matching the program's best-ever national finish. Now a senior, Jao-Javanil is a two-time first-team All-American and three-time All-Big 12 honoree.
Kendric Maple ended an eight-year drought for Sooner wrestling when he claimed the NCAA title at 141 pounds, earning his second All-America honor of his career. Maple finished 31-0 last season and was one of only six collegiate wrestlers to end the year undefeated. During quarterfinal action of the 2013 NCAA Championships, Maple earned his 100th career win. He is one of 13 Sooners all-time to reach at least 100 victories in his career.
A native of Edmond, Okla., Michael Squires proved he was the best in the NCAA on still rings by winning the title last April. A former walk-on, Squires won eight individual rings titles during the regular season before shining in the postseason. At the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships, Squires posted a score of 15.650 to win his first conference championship and help OU to its 12th team conference title in the last 14 seasons. At the NCAA event finals, Squires was named an All-American and national champion on rings with a score of 15.775, becoming the Sooners’ first still rings national champion since 2008.
In addition to helping OU softball claim the Women’s College World Series Championship, Keilani Ricketts was bestowed with numerous individual honors. Ricketts became the first Sooner to win the Honda Cup, given to the nation’s top female collegiate athlete, and was named the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year for a second straight season. Ricketts dominated as OU’s starting pitcher and finished 35-1 with 16 shutouts last season. She struck out 350 batters in 238 1/3 innings and totaled a 1.23 ERA.
John Roddick’s Sooner men’s tennis squad captured its second straight Big 12 Championship title at home in 2013. Additionally, four Sooners nabbed Big 12 individual titles in 2013. Axel Alvarez and Costin Paval were crowned as the No. 1 and No. 4 singles position champions. Guillermo Alcorta and doubles partner Alvarez were named doubles champions at the No. 2 position. Sooner tandem Dane Webb and Paval finished in a three-way tie with No. 1 doubles pairs. At the end of the Big 12 Tournament, OU added three more awards to its 2013 list. For the second year in a row, Roddick was named Coach of the Year. Costin Paval was named Player of the Year for the second straight season and Axel Alvarez was crowned as the Big 12’s Co-Freshman of the Year.
|OU Men's Tennis|
The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame will recognize Castiglione as the 2013 recipient of the John L. Toner Award. The Toner Award is presented annually by the NFF to an athletic director who has demonstrated superior administrative abilities and shown outstanding dedication to college athletics and particularly college football. During his tenure, the Sooners have won eight national championships and more than 60 conference titles while annually guiding nearly 600 student-athletes to off-field success as well. Castiglione has seen a rise in student-athlete graduation rates as well as record-highs in grade point averages and academic honors earned, truly fulfilling the department’s mission statement: “Inspiring champions today... Preparing leaders for tomorrow.”