The Norman Transcript

May 12, 2013

Day doesn’t diminish North’s achievements

The Norman Transcript

SHAWNEE — A few minutes before 9 p.m. DJ Gasso bounced a ball to Owasso third baseman Trae Bobo, who fired it across the diamond to Ram first baseman Austin O’Brien.

It happened about six hours to the minute after nobody cared to corral a soccer ball and throw it back into play deep in Timberwolves’ territory at Noble Stadium. Only seconds remained and the Edmond North net was 110 yards away, so why bother?

In between, Haley Woodard won a couple of state titles in Yukon, again making it clear she’s the best long sprinter this city’s ever seen. Also, on the Millers’ home track, the T-Wolves’ boys 400 relay team won a state title.

So ends Norman North’s 2012-2013 athletic year.

It was a tough day because everybody expects the North boys to win every soccer game they’ll ever play and, even if nobody figured the T-Wolves would stop Owasso’s amazing unbeaten season on the diamond, losing’s never easy when you’re one of the last two standing.

But it was a great year.

Let us count the ways.

Fall produced a football team that took down everybody but Jenks. Winter produced a girls basketball team that reached the state tournament, not to mention 160-pound Levi Berry, who won it all on the mat.

The space of time that is partly winter and partly spring, yet has no name, produced a state champion boys swimming team.

Spring produced a girls soccer team that won a district championship, a boys soccer team that made it to the season’s final day for the third time in four seasons and settled for runner-up status a year after winning it all, and a baseball team that played for the city’s first state diamond championship since Jack Harvey’s NHS Tigers won it all in 1995 (Harvey, by the way, was in North’s dugout in Shawnee on Saturday; that’s the split for you).

Soccer parents surely wanted more, baseball parents may have thought their T-Wolves could stop Owasso after 35 other teams had failed, and the whole state, all but Trojan and Redskin Nation, wanted the T-Wolves to win it all at Boone Pickens Stadium back on Nov. 30.

Still, what an amazing nine months. And, as good as it was on the field, maybe beginning the first or second week of the playoffs, back when Wade Standley’s T-Wolves just kept winning, it may have been even more exciting in the bleachers.

Soccer was terrific Saturday, but the crowd at Shawnee’s Ed Skelton Field was beyond.

After the T-Wolves plated a first-inning run on the strength of three consecutive bunts and a stolen base, there wasn’t a lot for North partisans to cheer about, but the numbers were fantastic, a phenomenon that began way back in November.

Of course, this is where it seems like something must be said about Norman High. The Tigers should not be forgotten.

Greg Nation’s football team was plenty good, Nichole Copeland’s Tigers may have turned a corner with a huge postseason victory, the baseball team was better, soccer was terrific as usual and, Saturday, Colin Pasque, not that far removed from reaching the state wrestling tournament himself, claimed state pole vault supremacy. Also, though North’s fans have been better than ever, Tiger Nation has nothing to apologize for. NHS partisans have been fantastic, too.

Yet, on the field, mat, court, pool, pitch (barely) and diamond, it was a year like no other for North.

Believe what you want, but there are no favorites here. Here, there’s only calling it as it is, always hoping for the best, especially when it’s Jenks, Union or Broken Arrow on the other side — even Owasso fans can’t stand that trio; ask them — and trying to deliver it all as well as it can be delivered.

There is acknowledgment, too.

Here it is.

In Noble and Shawnee, the T-Wolves lost Saturday. Also, they spent the school year winning, collectively like never before.

Good show.

Well done.

Clay Horning

Follow me @clayhorning