Growing up in Oklahoma, football has always been talked about as the main sport in the state.
While I am not going to argue that, I am going to say that at least one other sport deserves serious attention for the level of success being accomplished in the state.
At all levels — particularly at the college level — softball has become an extremely successful sport in the state of Oklahoma. Of course, college softball would not be where it is without the talent and development coming up at the younger levels. That needs to be said.
Now, I would like to preface the rest of this column by saying that I might not mention every single softball team having a strong season. This column would be too long by the time I got to the end.
So, I will be focusing on five different programs in Oklahoma who are currently enjoying high levels of success. Those five programs are all ranked in the top five and have combined for seven national championships since 2013.
The first of those programs is NAIA No. 1 University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. Head coach Jadyn Wallis has made the Drovers a powerhouse in the world of softball. USAO won its final seven games of the season to win the softball program's first national title in 2018.
And now the Drovers have been dominant in defending that title so far, entering the conference tournament with a 49-0 record and winners of 56 games in a row. Both of those win streaks are records.
Wallis played under University of Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso, and that leads me to the second program being consistently dominant, OU.
The Sooners have won three championships since 2013. Their titles came in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Being No. 1 in the country, the Sooners are contenders once again to win a title
And now I head back to the Sooner Athletic Conference, which is USAO’s conference. Oklahoma City University has been able to maintain a high level of consistency.
The Stars won back-to-back national titles in 2016 and 2017. With USAO's championship in 2018, the last three NAIA titles have come from the state of Oklahoma.
OCU — ranked third in the country in the NAIA — held the records that USAO was able to break this season.
I will finish with two schools that have shown their dominance this season. The University of Central Oklahoma is the top-ranked team in NCAA Division II and is looking for another national championship. The Bronchos last won a title in 2013.
Seminole State College is ranked No. 2 in the NJCAA Division I rankings and has put together a lengthy win streak as well.
With all that being said, these schools are just the beginning of what is a long list of schools having success.
Softball is a sport that continues to grow. In Oklahoma, it's paying off.