Rich Tortorelli, Assistant Athletic Director for Communications
OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma City University’s four national championships won in 2016-17 propelled a first-place finish in the Directors’ Cup NAIA standings for the first time ever.
The Stars took national titles in women’s basketball, competitive cheerleading, women’s golf and softball. Oklahoma City owns 66 national championships in all sports.
OCU won four national crowns in one school year for the third time in school history. The Stars collected five national titles each for three consecutive years in 2011-14. OCU has taken at least one national title per year for 24 years dating back to 1993-94.
The Stars have finished runner-up in the Directors’ Cup standings four times in 2000-01, 2001-02, 2013-14 and 2015-16. OCU finished in the top 10 for the fifth consecutive year. Since 1996-97, OCU has posted 16 top-10 finishes. Over the past 20 years, OCU has finished no lower than 13th in the Directors’ Cup standings.
In 2016-17, OCU had top-five national finishes in women’s basketball, competitive cheerleading, women’s golf, softball, women’s indoor track & field (runner-up), baseball (tied for third), women’s cross country (fifth) and competitive pom & dance (fifth). The Stars tallied 982 points to finish 177 points ahead of runner-up Lindsey Wilson (Ky.), which won the 2015-16 Directors’ Cup.
The Stars also achieved in the classroom with a 3.010 combined grade-point average in 2016-17, marking 15 years in a row OCU has been above a 3.0.
“This is a fitting end to what has been an historic year for Oklahoma City University athletics,” Oklahoma City athletic director Jim Abbott said. “This award signifies the overall success of our department and is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our student-athletes, coaches and administration. At OCU, we value every sport equally and have the same high expectations for each team. The heights that our teams reach are remarkable. Oklahomans are known for their character, grit, and determination – all factors that lead to success in life and athletics. We are proud to bring this honor back to OCU and our great state.”
Points in the Director’s Cup standings are awarded based on each institution’s finish in up to 12 NAIA-sponsored sports, six men’s and six women’s. Two Sooner Athletic Conference institutions made the top five for the fourth consecutive year. Wayland Baptist (Texas) finished fourth in the standings.
OCU’s 2016-17 achievements:
- The Stars took the first competitive cheerleading title fully sponsored by the NAIA.
- Oklahoma City secured its ninth NAIA Division I women’s basketball championship.
- The Stars collected their eighth women’s golf national crown.
- Oklahoma City snared its second consecutive softball national championship and 10th NAIA softball title. OCU set an NAIA record with a 52-game winning streak while going 68-1 to record the second most single-season win total in program and NAIA history.
- OCU captured its 66th national championship in all sports. OCU owns the most NAIA championships in men’s basketball (six), women’s basketball (nine), men’s golf (10), women’s golf (eight) and softball (10).
- Finished No. 1 in the NAIA rankings in women’s basketball, women’s golf, softball. Held the top spot among the ratings in baseball and men’s golf. The Stars held the No. 1 ranking throughout all seven softball polls this season and have been No. 1 for 14 consecutive ratings.
- Performed in national competition in men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s golf, softball, men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track & field and men’s and women’s wrestling.
- Finished as runner-up in the NAIA women’s indoor track & field championships. OCU won the 3,200-meter relay and the distance medley relay titles, while Aminat Olowora took mile and 3,000-meter national titles to gain the most valuable performer award.
- Sooner Athletic Conference regular-season championships in baseball, women’s basketball, softball and volleyball.
- SAC Tournament titles in baseball, women’s basketball, softball and volleyball.
- The Stars won their third SAC men’s golf title in a row and seventh in eight years.
- OCU won its sixth consecutive SAC women’s golf crown.
- The Stars picked up their second consecutive SAC women’s cross country title.
- OCU accumulated 60 all-American nods, including seven women’s wrestling all-Americans. The Stars set an NAIA single-season high with six women’s golf all-Americans.
- Olowora won the NAIA women’s cross country title in a record time of 16 minutes, 24.28 seconds, 17 seconds faster than the previous mark. She was the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association South Central Region women’s cross country runner of the year.
- Michaela Werner became the NAIA women’s marathon national champion in the NAIA track & field championships.
- Daniela Wallen took both the NAIA Division I and SAC women’s basketball player of the year honors as well as national tournament most valuable player. Wallen also took SAC defensive player of the year.
- Kali Pugh swept the NAIA and SAC softball player of the year accolades.
- Georgia Wall snagged the NAIA Softball World Series MVP award for the second consecutive year. She was also SAC pitcher of the year, while Jaden Shores picked up SAC freshman of the year.
- Jaci Smith became NFCA NAIA catcher of the year.
- Matthew Cheung became a four-time men’s golf all-American, while Kailey Campbell and Anna Mikish became four-time women’s golf all-Americans.
- Six Stars garnered nine NAIA athlete of the week honors – Olowora (three women’s cross country runner of the week nods), Pugh (softball player of the week), Wall (softball pitcher of the week), Wallen (two-time women’s basketball player of the week), Abby Meador (softball pitcher of the week) and Alexandre Taiar (men’s soccer offensive player of the week).
- OCU had four semifinalists for the NAIA Jack Nicklaus men’s golf player of the year honor as awarded by the Golf Coaches Association of America.
- Rupert Kaminski collected the SAC men’s golf individual title and player of the year award.
- Xavier Smith reeled in SAC men’s basketball player of the year. Smith became the first Star to gain men’s basketball first-team all-American acclaim since 2008.
- Jared Baker picked up SAC baseball player of the year.
- Taiar was named SAC men’s soccer defensive player of the year.
- Daniela Galindo snagged SAC women’s basketball newcomer of the year, while NaShyla Hammons was SAC freshman of the year.
- Conference volleyball MVP and hitter of the year Manon Soraru. Sanja Vojnovic was SAC setter of the year, while Marijana Bjelobrk became SAC freshman of the year. Soraru was NAIA South Central Region player of the year, and Bjelobrk was regional freshman of the year.
- Melissa Eldredge picked up SAC women’s golf freshman of the year.
- Marty McCauley snared both NAIA and SAC women’s golf coach of the year accolades.
- Bo Overton became both NAIA Division I and SAC women’s basketball coach of the year.
- Matt Aguero was both USTFCCCA South Central Region and SAC women’s cross country coach of the year.
- Kyle Blaser added GCAA NAIA Central Region and SAC men’s golf coach of the year honors as well as finalist for the GCAA NAIA Dave Williams coach of the year award. He has been selected to guide the U.S. boys team in the Toyota Junior Golf World Cup on June 13-16 in Nagoya, Japan.
- Phil McSpadden and his assistants have taken both the NFCA NAIA coaching staff of the year and NAIA Southwest Region coaching staff of the year awards. McSpadden snared his 1,600th career win 7-1 over USAO on April 25 in Chickasha, Okla. McSpadden leads college softball in victories vs. four-year competition with 1,613.
- Denney Crabaugh took SAC baseball coach of the year. He picked up his 1,400th career victory as OCU rallied from a five-run deficit to take the NAIA Championship Opening Round Oklahoma City Bracket 17-16 over Campbellsville (Ky.) on May 17 and advance to the NAIA World Series. Oklahoma City leads college baseball with 1,336 wins since 1991.
- C.J. Campbell became the NAIA South Qualifying Group wrestling coach of the year.
- Kyle Steele was both NAIA South Central Region and SAC volleyball coach of the year.
- Brian Harvey notched his 750th overall career victory in a 1-0 men’s win over Kansas Wesleyan on Sept. 17 in Salina, Kan., as well as his 350th career women’s win 1-0 over Wayland Baptist on Oct. 29 at Stars Field. Harvey has the most men’s and women’s wins of any coach in NAIA soccer history. Harvey’s college coaching record stands at 762-301-63 – 412-191-38 in men’s play and 350-110-25 on the women’s side.