NORMAN — The tip of Norman’s soccer spear has come from various sources.
From 1986 to 1999, coach Gordon Drummond’s Norman High boys claimed a quartet of state tiles. Still, as dominant as Drummond’s boys were, it was the NHS girls, first led by Bill Chissoe, then Jay Coleman and Bob Byers, who took home seven state titles between 1991 and 2005.
Brian Young’s Norman North boys won it all in 2000 and 2003. And, here lately, Geo Claros’ North boys program has clearly been the city’s most dominant, claiming state championships in 2010 and 2012 before once again playing for the crown last season.
Always good, infrequently very good and only occasionally fantastic, the North girls are still looking for their first state championship.
Many times, perhaps, the T-Wolves have been in a position to view themselves as contenders, but never quite like this.
Kali Newman has signed to play keeper for Oklahoma. Bri Kuestersteffen has signed to blaze her trail at Alabama-Birmingham. And Victoria VanHootegem, the daughter of OU track coach Jim VanHootegem, a newcomer senior to the program, has signed to play her college soccer at Florida Atlantic. That’s just the Division I signees.
Simone Ryan and Lexi Carroll are headed to Central Oklahoma, Mackenzie Marquardt is ticketed for Oklahoma Christian and Sheridan Spelman’s headed to Lindenwood.
You want talent?
Riding the same nucleus the past two seasons, North has put together big regular seasons, yet has fallen short in the playoffs. A tradition of winning on the biggest stage can be a burden, but also an elevating foundation, and it’s one the T-Wolves simply do not have.
Yet, if that’s something to be overcome, talent and depth seemingly everywhere on the pitch is not. Also, the season ahead may even set up the North girls’ way.