Rich Tortorelli, Assistant Athletic Director for Communications
OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma City University captured its second consecutive NAIA Directors’ Cup championship with its finishes nationally in 2017-18.
Oklahoma City squeaked past Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) by the slimmest margin ever in the 2017-18 standings. OCU collected the men’s golf national championship for its 67th national title in all sports.
The Stars moved past Lindsey Wilson by 1.75 points after their tie for third place in the NAIA Softball World Series and a seventh-place showing in the NAIA women’s track & field championships. As of May 24, Lindsey Wilson held a 55.25-point lead in the standings. The NAIA Directors’ Cup was decided by a single-digit margin for the first time ever.
Oklahoma City scored points in the maximum 13 sports allowed with four scores omitted to total 847.75 points. The Stars finished as national runners-up in competitive cheerleading and competitive dance and third place in both men’s and women’s cross country among 10 top-10 finishes in 2017-18. OCU has won at least one national title in each of the past 25 years.
OCU finished among the top three in the Directors’ Cup standings for the fifth consecutive year after taking its first title in 2016-17, finishing runner-up in 2015-16, third in 2014-15 and runner-up in 2013-14. The Stars held a spot in the top 10 for the sixth year in a row and 17th time since 1996-97. OCU has finished second in the Directors’ Cup standings four times.
“It is an honor to be recognized as the most successful NAIA athletic department in the country for the second year in a row,” Oklahoma City athletic director Jim Abbott said. “This award recognizes our success across the department and is a testament to the efforts of our student-athletes, coaches and university administration. I couldn’t be more proud of the accomplishments of our teams, and I’m thrilled that they are recognized in this way.”
For 2017-18, the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics determined to count an institution’s points in its top 13 championship sports towards its Directors’ Cup finish. Four of those sports must be men’s and women’s basketball, men’s soccer and women’s volleyball. The next highest nine sports are counted towards the standings regardless of gender. OCU will be honored at the NACDA Convention during a luncheon June 30 in Washington, D.C.
OCU’s 2017-18 athletic achievements:
- The Stars won their 11th NAIA men’s golf championship by 13 strokes. All five golfers finished in the top 25 with four earning all-tournament awards.
- Oklahoma City owns 67 national championships in all sports. OCU has won the most NAIA titles in men’s golf (11), softball (10), women’s basketball (nine), women’s golf (eight) and men’s basketball (six).
- OCU finished the year at No. 1 in men’s golf. The Stars attained the top spot in the rankings in women’s basketball, women’s cross country, women’s golf and softball.
- Reached national competition in baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, competitive cheerleading, men’s and women’s cross country, competitive dance, men’s and women’s golf, softball, men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track & field and men’s and women’s wrestling.
- Took national runner-up in the NAIA competitive cheer and dance championships. The Stars finished as the dance runner-up by a half point.
- Advanced to the NAIA World Series for the 16th time and posted 50 wins for the 15th time in the history of OCU’s baseball program.
- Made the NAIA Softball World Series for the 31st time, improving its World Series mark to 127-47. OCU leads NAIA softball in appearances and wins in World Series play.
- OCU collected its 1,500th men’s basketball win 75-73 over Central Christian (Kan.) on Feb. 13 in McPherson, Kan.
- Sooner Athletic Conference regular-season championships in baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, softball and volleyball. OCU shared the men’s basketball title for its first SAC men’s hoops regular-season crown in 10 years.
- SAC Tournament crowns in women’s basketball, softball and volleyball.
- OCU won its fourth consecutive and 23rd overall SAC men’s golf championship.
- The Stars took their fourth SAC men’s cross country title in five years.
- OCU captured its third SAC women’s cross country crown in a row.
- Stars reeled in 61 all-American accolades led by nine cheerleaders earning all-American nods.
- Aminat Olowora completed her OCU cross country and track & field career as an 11-time all-American and nine-time national champion. In 2017-18, Olowora won the NAIA women’s individual cross country title, the 3,000-meter crown in the NAIA indoor track & field championships and the 5,000-meter and 10,000-meter crowns in the NAIA outdoor championship meet. She became two-time national cross country champion, two-time SAC cross country champ, two-time 3,000-meter indoor champion and two-time U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association South Central Region women’s cross country athlete of the year. Olowora received the national women’s cross country athlete of the year and regional women’s track & field athlete of the year. She set the NAIA women’s cross country championships meet record as a junior and finished her cross country career with 10 wins in 10 races.
- Mackenzie Wahpepah-Harris won two NAIA men’s track & field championships in 2017-18, taking the mile title in the NAIA indoor meet and the 1,500-meter crown in the NAIA outdoor championships. He became the first Star to win a men’s indoor individual national title.
- Mark Shaw took the NAIA and SAC individual men’s cross country championships, garnering the NAIA USTFCCCA men’s cross country athlete of the year.
- Six Oklahoma City student-athletes were honored as national athlete of the week by the NAIA in 2017-18 – Ridell Camidge (men’s basketball), Dani Chase (volleyball libero of the week), David Meyers (men’s golf), Olowora (women’s cross country), Shaw (men’s cross country) and Georgia Wall (softball pitcher of the week).
- Daniela Galindo garnered the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association NAIA player of the year as well as SAC player of the year and SAC Tournament most valuable player.
- Jaci Smith became National Fastpitch Coaches Association NAIA catcher of the year for the second year in a row.
- Rupert Kaminski took finalist honors for the NAIA Jack Nicklaus player of the year award for the third consecutive year. Kaminski set OCU’s career record his ninth victory in the South Carolina Beaufort Innisbrook Invitational on Oct. 2-3 in Palm Harbor, Fla.
- Sanja Vojnovic swept the SAC volleyball MVP and setter of the year awards.
- The Stars’ Matt Landgraff at 149 pounds, Brian Buser at 184 and Bryson McGowan at 285 were among the SAC’s first individual wrestling champions, leading OCU to a runner-up finish in the SAC wrestling championships.
- Jonathan Ellis shared the SAC men’s basketball defensive player of the year honor.
- Vladimir Kalajdzic was named SAC men’s soccer goalkeeper of the year.
- Chase grabbed SAC volleyball libero of the year.
- Kennedy Jackson was SAC softball freshman of the year.
- Two Stars were chosen in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft to give OCU 75 alumni selected in the MLB Draft. Lane Milligan was taken by the Boston Red Sox in the 17th round, while Miguel Figueroa was selected by the Houston Astros in the 24th round.
- Kyle Blaser became NAIA men’s golf coach of the year for the 10th time, Dave Williams Golf Coaches Association of America NAIA coach of the year for the ninth time, NAIA Central Region coach of the year for the third year in a row and SAC coach of the year for the sixth time.
- Matt Aguero picked up U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association South Central Region women’s cross country coach of the year for the second year in a row and SAC men’s and women’s cross country of the year honors.
- Vinay Patel reeled in the John Hudson SAC men’s basketball coach of the year. Patel led the Stars to their NAIA Division I Tournament victory in 10 years.
- Phil McSpadden posted career win No. 1,650 in a 6-0 win over Bacone on April 13 at Ann Lacy Stadium. McSpadden’s record stands at 1,666-376 in 31 years to lead college softball in victories over four-year competition all time.
- Denney Crabaugh notched his 1,450th career win 19-8 over Jamestown (N.D.) on May 15 in the NAIA Baseball Championship Opening Round Oklahoma City Bracket, finishing the year with a 1,453-446-2 mark in his 30th year at OCU. OCU owns more victories than any college baseball program since 1991 (1,387).
- Brian Harvey collected his 775th overall college win 2-1 in a men’s match vs. Central Christian on Oct. 31 in McPherson, Kan., and 350th women’s soccer win in a 3-1 victory over Houston-Victoria on Sept. 17 at Stars Field. Harvey has a 777-315-66 mark in 32 years coaching men’s and women’s college soccer – a 418-197-41 men’s record and 359-118-25 in 24 years in women’s play. Harvey has the most men’s and women’s wins of any soccer coach among the NAIA.