Good News RSS Feed OC alumni and students in Acappella bring “Good News” to prisoners Oklahoma Christian University is proud of its extensive ties with Christian signing group Acappella. The group enjoyed a special experience performing for the second year in a row for an audience hungry for the Good News. Acappella performed at the Grimes Correctional Facility in Newport, Arkansas this week.

“While it was bittersweet to see familiar faces from our prior visits, there's a sweet, sweet spirit in that place,” bass singer and OC employee Wes McKinzie said.

A member of the Christian Music Hall of Fame, Acappella has sold more than three million units and toured every continent on the globe since the group formed in 1982.

The group’s five members have all graduated or attended OC. Since 2009, members receive a scholarship to attend OC through a unique partnership between the university and the Acappella Company. This partnership builds on a long history between OC and Acappella; 21 former or current OC students have served with the Acappella Company through the years.

After releasing the landmark album "Sweet Fellowship," Acappella signed with Word Records (and later Epic Records), and saw its popularity soar with releases such as “Rescue,” “We Have Seen His Glory” and “Set Me Free.” The song “More Precious Than Gold” became the centerpiece of a Sony Camcorder national television commercial. The group’s "Radiance" album won the 2007 CARA Award for Best Religious Album.

Just a few weeks ago, Acappella performed the national anthem before the Texas Rangers baseball game at Globe-Life Park in Arlington, Texas. The performance was part of “OC Night With the Texas Rangers.”

Those nearby to OC can catch the group perform again soon. Acappella will perform Aug. 1 at Oklahoma Christian Academy’s gospel meeting in Edmond, Oklahoma. 

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Thu, 24 Jul 2014 14:10:00 CDT 6805a7dc-d533-410d-8921-e3ab130ac171
Families from 43 countries attend Global Reunion 2014 at OC For the ninth year in a row, OC will host missionary and military families returning to the United States at Global Reunion 2014. The camp has doubled in size in the last two years with 150 participants from 43 countries on campus from July 23-27. 

The camp is for children aged 13 and older who are known as Third Culture Kids, though parents are allowed to attend sessions as well. Directors Kent and Nancy Hartman, missionaries-in-residence at OC, give tools and resources to families that have lived outside the United States and are now seeking to reenter U.S. culture. The Hartmans spent more than 10 years as missionaries in Australia and were surprised by the challenges of reintegrating their family into America.

“TCKs have both the culture of their parents, the culture of the country they have grown up in, and they develop from these a third culture which is uniquely their own,” Nancy Hartman said. “TCKs have American parents, look and sound like Americans and are expected to know and understand an American culture that is foreign to them.”

At Global Reunion, campers learn to deal with the grief, hidden losses, identity confusion and divided loyalties that can accompany cross-cultural moves. The camp is also filled with fun activities that will help the campers embrace their situation and thrive in it. 

In addition to OC, Global Reunion is co-hosted by InterMission, a group of former missionaries committed to supporting missionaries. InterMission was co-founded by the Hartmans and Memorial Road church of Christ in Oklahoma City. There are also many volunteers from local churches who provide meals for the campers. 

According to Kent Hartman, Global Reunion is the only camp of its kind in the world that combines classes for college-age and teen TCKs that also has classes for parents. It is also the only camp of its kind among churches of Christ.

“Global Reunion has put OC on the map in missionary and military circles around the world,” he said. “We are often referred to in those circles as ‘the university that cares about missionary and military families’ and the place to send TCKs when they reach university age.”

In recent years, OC has had an increase in the number of TCKs who call OC home. More than 60 students meet during the year, often with the Hartmans. They enjoy activities and relationships for successful living in their world of changing cultures and transitions. More information about the camp and program can be found at

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Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:33:00 CDT cb49b96e-2007-48ae-b797-6adeb1b6ccc0
OC’s Payne lands another academic honor, this time from the GCAA NORMAN, Okla. (July 23, 2014) – Oklahoma Christian’s Trey Payne is one of 75 NCAA Division II golfers to be named as a Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholar, the Golf Coaches Association of America said Wednesday.

To be eligible for the GCAA honor, a Division II player must be a junior or senior academically, have competed at least three years of college golf, played in at least 50 percent of his team’s competitive rounds, have a stroke average under 78, have a grade-point average of at least 3.2, be of high moral character and be of good standing at his university.

Payne, from Ardmore, just completed his junior season with the Eagles. The accounting major has a 3.36 GPA and posted a stroke average of 74.73 during the 2013-14 season.

He twice has been named as a National Christian College Athletic Association Scholar-Athlete.

Payne was one of three players from Heartland Conference schools to make the GCAA honor list, joining Brian Smith and Jose Hernandez, both of St. Edward’s (Texas).

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Wed, 23 Jul 2014 16:45:00 CDT b2cb40cc-c830-4ee2-b169-d2ba84701709
Men’s basketball squad receives Team Academic Excellence Award from NABC KANSAS CITY, Mo. (July 23, 2014) – Oklahoma Christian’s men’s basketball team was named Wednesday as the recipient of a Team Academic Excellence Award by the National Association of Basketball Coaches.

The 2013-14 Eagles were one of 126 programs (from all NCAA and NAIA divisions) so honored by the NABC, which created the team academic award program before the 2012-13 season.

To receive the award, members of a team must have a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or better. That number must include the GPAs of all student-athletes who competed for the team during the season. OC’s squad had a cumulative GPA of 3.064.

Team members for the 2013-14 season included Kendre Talley, Collin Tubbs, Josh Faurot, Casey Covalt, Jordan Rutherford, Zach Norris, Willie Harper, Nick Tate, Deric Shelton, John Moon, Luis Lopez, Jordan VanDeKop and Eric Randall. The squad was coached by head coach Dan Hays, assistant coaches Terril Hankins and Rob McKinzie and graduate assistant coach Brandon Troutman.

OC was one of only two Heartland Conference squads to receive the NABC honor, along with Dallas Baptist (Texas).

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Wed, 23 Jul 2014 11:30:00 CDT 3beb30ba-9a11-4f34-a9c7-e2e86f23cd09
Despite strong round, Johnston falls in Oklahoma State Amateur quarterfinals OWASSO, Okla. (July 22, 2014) – Oklahoma Christian’s Sam Johnston had a fantastic round that included six birdies on Tuesday afternoon in the Oklahoma Golf Association State Amateur Championship quarterfinals, but he simply couldn’t keep up with Central Oklahoma’s Eric Kline.

Kline’s round that included an eagle and seven birdies allowed him to post a 3-and-1 match-play win over Johnston at the Patriot Golf Club.

During the morning round, Johnston advanced to the quarterfinals with a rousing 1-up win in 19 holes over Austin Eckroat, who won the Class 6A high school individual title as a freshman this spring at Edmond North High School.

Johnston, a rising junior from San Diego, hoped to carry that momentum into the quarterfinal match with Kline, who’s from Ponca City and will be a junior at UCO in the fall. Johnston birdied the par-5 No. 1 but Kline posted an eagle, putting him ahead in a match he’d never trail.

Johnston’s par at No. 3 evened the match, as Kline posted his only bogey. But birdies on the next two holes put Kline 2-up. Johnston answered with a birdie on the par-3 No. 6 but couldn’t close the gap any further, as the two players halved the next six holes, a run that included birdies for each player on a pair of par-5 holes, No. 8 and No. 10.

Kline went 2-up with a birdie on the par-3 No. 13. Johnston briefly rallied with a birdie on No. 14 to win that hole, but Kline birdied the par-5 No. 16 and par-3 No. 17 to end the match. Kline advanced to face Brendon Jelley of Tulsa in Wednesday’s semifinals.

It was the second straight year during which Johnston, a two-time NCAA Division II All-America pick, made an impressive run in a state amateur tournament. He reached the round of 16 in the California State Amateur last year.

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Tue, 22 Jul 2014 15:45:00 CDT 19e17a43-5934-4f04-903d-6b1efb709c7a
Randall granted extra year of eligibility by NCAA, to rejoin OC basketball team OKLAHOMA CITY (July 22, 2014) – The NCAA has granted Oklahoma Christian men’s basketball player Eric Randall a sixth season of eligibility, which will allow the senior center to rejoin OC’s squad for the 2014-15 season, OC coach Dan Hays said Tuesday.

Randall, a 6-foot-8 center from Edmond, missed all of the 2013-14 season – which would have been his senior campaign – after suffering a preseason knee injury. Randall also did not play during his first season at OC, in 2009-10.

He initially decided not to pursue an appeal with the NCAA to reinstate his final season of eligibility, but then changed his mind this past spring.

NCAA student-athletes typically have 10 full-time semesters during which to complete four seasons of eligibility, but under NCAA rules, an extension of eligibility waiving the 10-semester rule may be granted “based upon objective evidence, for reasons that are beyond the control of the student-athlete or the institution, which deprive the student-athlete of the opportunity to participate for more than one season in his/her sport” within that 10-semester window.

“This is the crown jewel to an already outstanding recruiting class,” Hays said. “You can’t really call a sixth-year senior a new recruit, but that is how I feel.  I am so happy for Eric Randall. He now gets to finish his collegiate career on the floor and not in the training room and on the bench in street clothes.

Randall’s return should provide a major boost to what will be a young OC squad that will include seven freshmen and six sophomores to go with two other seniors. During the 2012-13 season, Randall averaged 5.9 points and 3.0 rebounds per game as the Eagles advanced to the National Christian College Athletic Association championship game.

As a sophomore in 2011-12, he averaged 9.2 points and 4.5 rebounds per game, helping the Eagles win the Sooner Athletic Conference tournament title, and he averaged 7.2 points and 2.8 rebounds per game as a freshman.

“Eric is a tremendous young man who has graduated and will start in our MBA program this fall,” Hays said. “He is a proven player that will give us a huge boost in the Heartland Conference this season.”

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Tue, 22 Jul 2014 10:15:00 CDT e046b442-b70d-4438-ac6f-6145d2536c41
Johnston reaches round of 16 at OGA State Amateur Championship OWASSO, Okla. (July 21, 2014) – Oklahoma Christian standout Sam Johnston won two matches on Monday to advance to the round of 16 in the annual Oklahoma Golf Association State Amateur Championship at the Patriot Golf Club.

Johnston, a rising junior from San Diego and a two-time NCAA Division II All-America second-team pick, earned the 15th seed in the tournament and opened by beating 50th-seeded Braden Ricks of Shawnee 2 and 1 in a morning match.

On Monday afternoon, Johnston downed 47th-seeded Michael Hughett of Owasso – who has won 16 OGA championships and is one of the state’s top senior players – 3 and 2.

Johnston will face one of the state’s best junior players on Tuesday morning, squaring off against Austin Eckroat, who won the Class 6A high school title in May to cap his freshman season at Edmond North High School. With a win, Johnston would play in a quarterfinal match on Tuesday afternoon.

The semifinals and title match are scheduled for Wednesday.

One other OC player appeared in the tournament – incoming freshman Ty Tamura of Edmond, who lost 5 and 4 to Mason Keller of Tulsa in the first round.

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Mon, 21 Jul 2014 22:15:00 CDT c1e3580d-57c1-4926-92cb-dce4e3dc242a
OC signee Strickland stars in Texas prep basketball all-star game SAN ANTONIO, Texas (July 21, 2014) – Oklahoma Christian men’s basketball signee Elijah Strickland wrapped up an all-star summer with another impressive performance on Monday night.

Strickland score 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting and added five rebounds and an assist as his North team beat the South 118-101 in the annual Texas High School Coaches Association All-Star Game at the Alamo Convention Center.

Strickland, a 6-foot-3 guard who starred at Burkburnett High School just north of Wichita Falls, won the event’s 3-point contest at halftime, knocking down 15 shots from behind the arc – edging out two other future Heartland Conference players, Aubrie King (St. Edward’s) and Scout Teal (Lubbock Christian), who had 14 and 12, respectively.

Strickland developed a reputation as a long-range marksman at Burkburnett, hitting 216 3-pointers during the past two seasons. He averaged 19.3 points, 3.8 assists and 2.9 steals per game while shooting 42 percent from 3-point range and 81 percent from the free-throw line as a senior.

On Monday, he also participated in the THSCA game’s dunk contest, won by future New Mexico player Xavier Adams.

Earlier this summer, Strickland and fellow OC signee Jordan Box represented Texas in the annual Faith 7 Basketball Bowl in Shawnee, with Box winning team most valuable player honors.

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Mon, 21 Jul 2014 21:45:00 CDT 5cab705b-3561-4a1d-8c08-ffe07c3f4f7d
Covalt represents Oklahoma Christian on NABC Honors Court KANSAS CITY, Mo. (July 21, 2014) – Casey Covalt represented Oklahoma Christian on the National Association of Basketball Coaches’ annual Honors Court, which was announced Monday.

The Honors Court recognized men’s college basketball players who excelled in academics during the 2013-14 academic year. To qualify for the honor, a player must be a junior or senior, have a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.2, have spent at least one year at his current institution and have a coach who is a NABC member.

Covalt, a rising senior guard from Woodward, has a 3.54 GPA in biology. He earlier had been named as a Scholar-Athlete by the National Christian College Athletic Association.

The NABC said 895 players from 338 colleges and universities earned the Honors Court distinction.

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Mon, 21 Jul 2014 12:00:00 CDT 7a396454-1798-482f-b6ec-eca50ffd9348
Gibson closes British Open with a 78, 3 birdies in final 6 holes HOYLAKE, England (July 20, 2014) – Even if he didn’t post the score he wanted, Rhein Gibson left Royal Liverpool Golf Club on Sunday knowing he at least finished strong.

Gibson’s final-round 6-over-par 78 at the British Open looks a lot better when one considers he birdied three of his final six holes. The Oklahoma Christian alum finished his first major championship at 10-over-par 298, in 72nd place overall, earning himself a paycheck of about $20,840.

The 29-year-old Australian, who lives in Edmond, Okla., and was inducted into the OC Athletic Hall of Fame in January, had a most memorable tournament. He made the cut with a dramatic 15-foot birdie putt on No. 18 to end the second round on Friday, then received worldwide media attention while playing in a Saturday grouping with Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth.

“Well, it wasn't the weekend I wanted, but I’m happy I made the cut in my first major,” Gibson said. “What a treat to play with Tiger and Spieth on Saturday. I wish my game was in a better place overall, but playing four days is better than two. It will be an event I will never forget.”

Paired with Koumei Oda of Japan on Sunday, Gibson started slow, bogeying No. 1 after hitting his tee shot into the left rough, then three-putting for bogey at No. 4. After another bogey at No. 6, disaster struck at No. 7, as Gibson hit into the gorse and took a triple bogey, putting him at 6-over for the round on the 7,312-yard Royal Liverpool course.

But the four-time NAIA All-American – who gained fame in May 2012 for a world-record round of 55 at River Oaks Golf Club in Oklahoma City – kept his composure, even after bogeys on No. 10 and No. 12 put him at 8-over for the round and 12-over for the tournament.

At the par-3 No. 13, Gibson hit his tee shot within five feet, prompting a roar from the crowd gathered around the green. He made the birdie putt. He bogeyed No. 15, but quickly rebounded, getting up and down out of a greenside bunker for a birdie at the par-5 No. 16. He closed his round with another birdie on the par-5 No. 18.

Gibson finished only two shots behind reigning U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer and ahead of reigning Masters champion Bubba Watson, who did not make the cut.

Oda, Gibson’s playing partner on Sunday, shot a 67 and finished at 1-under for the tournament. Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland won the title, shooting 17-under 271 to win his third major championship.

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Sun, 20 Jul 2014 12:15:00 CDT 948c993b-68bd-4651-bb50-44d7b3f02678
Gibson shoots 74 during round with Tiger at British Open, now at +4 HOYLAKE, England (July 19, 2014) – By all accounts, the moment didn’t get to Rhein Gibson on Saturday, even if his score was no doubt a few shots higher than he would have preferred.

Playing in a group with 14-time major champion Tiger Woods and rising star Jordan Spieth in the third round of the British Open, Gibson shot a 2-over-par 74 at Royal Liverpool Golf Club, leaving the Oklahoma Christian alum at 4-over for the tournament.

Gibson played before the largest crowds of his career, with fans crowding eight-to-10 deep along the course, most no doubt hoping to catch a glimpse of Woods – who, like Gibson, birdied No. 18 on Friday to make the tournament’s cut on the number.

ESPN dedicated an announcing crew to Woods’ group and broadcast nearly every shot taken by Gibson, Woods and Spieth, giving the cable network’s announcers plenty of time to discuss Woods’ playing partners. Gibson’s world-record round of 55 – shot at River Oaks Golf Club in Oklahoma City in May 2012 – was a frequent topic of conversation. Famed golfers-turned-commentators such as David Duval and Tom Weiskopf noted Gibson’s composure on the course.

Gibson also was the subject of a story written by a sports writer for The Associated Press, the world’s largest news agency. The AP asked him about playing in front of such large crowds.

"Were there galleries out there?" Gibson answered, while smiling. "It was cool but tough. They all respect him (Woods).  As soon as he putts out, they're gone."

Gibson – a 29-year-old Australian who now lives in Edmond, Okla., and was inducted into the OC Athletic Hall of Fame in January – more than held his own against his more-famous playing partners, although his putter let him down a bit toward the end of his round, leaving him tied for 63rd among the 72 players who made the cut.

Because of a dire weather forecast for Saturday, the world’s most prestigious tournament – for the first time in its history, which began in 1860 – used split-tee starts, so Gibson’s group started its round on No. 10. He’d birdied that hole during each of his first two rounds, but hit his tee shot into the rough and bogeyed it on Saturday, falling to 3-over for the tournament.

Bogeys at No. 12 and the par-3 No. 15 left him at 3-over for the day and 5-over for the tournament, but he rebounded with a birdie on the par-5 No. 16 and another at No. 1. Another bogey at No. 2 – after he missed a 10-foot par putt – put Gibson 2-over for the day.

At No. 4, he stuck his approach shot to eight feet and nailed it for a birdie. He hit his second shot at the par-5 No. 5 into the rough right of the green, but chipped to about 15 feet and sank the putt, moving him back to even par for the day and 2-over for the tournament.

But he quickly gave those two shots back. He three-putted from about 30 feet at No. 6, and after a chip to within eight feet at No. 7, he pushed his par putt just to the right.

"I was a little nervy again later but I started playing some decent golf," Gibson told the AP. "I was just disappointed I had two late bogeys coming in on 6 and 7."

At No. 8 – statistically the hardest hole on the course on Saturday, allowing only six birdies – he missed a 25-foot birdie putt by six inches, and at No. 9, his 30-foot birdie putt was on line but stopped a foot short of the hole.

Woods finished with a 73, leaving him at 3-over for the tournament, while Spieth fired a 5-under 67.

For Gibson’s final round on Sunday, he will be paired with Koumei Oda of Japan and is scheduled to tee off at 9:15 a.m. (3:15 a.m. Oklahoma time).

"I've always said I'm here, so I know I can play golf, and making the cut in my first major solidifies that a little bit," Gibson told the AP. "Hopefully I can do a bit better on Sunday."

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Sat, 19 Jul 2014 15:00:00 CDT a5762ea2-b575-40a1-adc2-7ef15e755235
OC alum Gibson holes pressure putt on No. 18, makes cut at British Open HOYLAKE, England (July 18, 2014) – It was the biggest putt of Rhein Gibson’s life – which is saying something for a guy who once shot a world-record 55 – and the Oklahoma Christian alum responded the way he has so many times before.

A four-time NAIA All-American while at OC, Gibson made the 15-footer for a birdie on No. 18 as darkness descended at Royal Liverpool Golf Club, capping a 2-over-par 74 and allowing him to make the cut on the number in the world’s most prestigious tournament.

“I am stoked to make the cut,” Gibson said. “I made it tough on myself having to birdie the last hole. I’m glad I held my nerve and managed to make a good putt.”

He joined a host of famous names tied for 56th at 2-over for the tournament, including former British Open champs Tiger Woods (who also birdied No. 18 to make the cut) and Tom Watson, among others. When the tournament resumes Saturday morning, Gibson – who was inducted into the OC Athletic Hall of Fame in January – will be among 72 golfers remaining from a field that originally numbered 156.

The 29-year-old Australian – who now lives in Edmond, Okla. – will be paired Saturday with Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth and will tee off from No. 10 at 11:01 a.m. (5:01 a.m. Oklahoma time). They trail the leader, Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, by 12 shots.

Gibson called it “a surprise” that he’ll get to play with Woods, who has won 14 majors and remains arguably golf’s most popular player. As a result, there’s little doubt that Gibson will show up on worldwide television broadcasts on Saturday.

After shooting a 72 on Thursday in the first round at 7,312-yard Royal Liverpool, Gibson was in the second-to-last group to play on Friday. He opened with three straight pars, but three-putted No. 4 to bogey and go 1-over.

At No. 7, Gibson pulled his tee shot into the tall grass on the links course and had an unplayable lie. He also three-putted that hole for a double bogey and made the turn at 3-over, the same score as he had at that point in the first round.

He birdied the par-5 No. 10 for the second straight day, then followed that by sinking an 8-foot birdie putt at No. 11 to move back to 1-over. But he again found trouble at No. 14, hitting his tee shot into the rough and again having an unplayable lie, and recorded another double bogey, leaving him in danger of missing the cut.

“I missed it left and made double,” he said. “That really hurt.”

Gibson hit a 6-foot par putt on No. 16 but missed a 12-footer for birdie at No. 17, leaving him with one last chance to make a birdie and thus make the cut.

His tee shot at the par-5 No. 18 went into the light rough and his second shot found a greenside pot bunker. His shot from there ended up 15 feet from the hole, setting up the putt that means he’ll keep playing this weekend.

Among those who did not make the cut included former major winners Bubba Watson (the reigning Masters champion), John Daly, Todd Hamilton, Ben Curtis, Justin Leonard, Ernie Els, David Duval, Nick Faldo, Paul Lawrie and Sandy Lyle.

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Fri, 18 Jul 2014 17:00:00 CDT e2823b04-db18-41f7-a8cf-416ffc91a7f0
OC’s Meisch takes 5th in Kansas women’s state amateur tournament MANHATTAN, Kan. (July 17, 2014) – Oklahoma Christian’s Audrey Meisch finished fifth in the Kansas Women’s Golf Association Amateur Championship, which ended Thursday at Colbert Hills Golf Club.

Meisch, a rising junior from Wichita, Kan., closed the three-day event with a 3-over-par 76 to finish at 232, 13 shots behind the winner, Gianna Misenhelter of Overland Park, Kan.  Meisch opened the tournament by shooting an 82 on Tuesday but recovered with a 74 on Wednesday.

As a result of her high finish, Meisch was chosen to represent Kansas in the invitation-only Fore State Championship, which will be played July 27-29 at Shangri-La Golf Club in Afton, Okla. Kansas is the defending champion in the Fore State event, which began in 1995 in an effort to promote a friendly rivalry among amateur women’s golfers in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.

That event will cap an eventful summer for Meisch, who last month played in another invitation-only event, the Judson Collegiate & Legends Pro-Am Challenge in Roswell, Ga.

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Thu, 17 Jul 2014 20:15:00 CDT f6f7afed-7587-45c4-b284-827d3e1d0258
With sterling back 9, Gibson fires even-par 72 in 1st round of British Open HOYLAKE, England (July 17, 2014) – A rough stretch on the front nine at Royal Liverpool Golf Club could have left Rhein Gibson reeling, but the Oklahoma Christian alum rebounded with an exceptional back nine on Thursday in the first round of the British Open.

Gibson ended his round – his first-ever in a major championship – at even-par 72, a score that put him in tie for 49th in the 156-man field for the world’s most prestigious tournament. The 29-year-old Australian, who now lives in Edmond, Okla., shot 3-under-par on the back side at 7,312-yard Royal Liverpool on a sunny day with little wind.

Gibson would seem to be in position to make the cut if he posts another solid round on Friday. He trails the leader, Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, by six shots. Among the players he’s leading are the last two British Open winners, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els.

“I’m very happy with even (par) for my first round in a major,” Gibson said. “Luckily my putter saved me today and I was able to right the ship and shoot even.”

Gibson, who was inducted into the OC Athletic Hall of Fame in January, started well Thursday, recovering after hitting his tee shot on No. 3 into the high grass on the links course and sinking a 25-foot birdie putt.

But then came a difficult four-hole stretch of bogeys, starting on No. 5, a hole on which more than 60 players recorded a birdie. At the par-3 No. 6, Gibson hit into a pot bunker and couldn’t get up and down.

“I was pretty nervous on the first tee,” Gibson said. “I’m happy I made contact and made a great par. I had a couple of bad breaks and poor shots let to four straight bogeys.”

He steadied himself with a par on the par-3 No. 9 before drilling a 340-yard shot with a 3-wood on No. 10, leading to a birdie that put him back at 2-over for the round.

At the par-3 No. 13, Gibson hit a tee shot to within 20 feet, then made the birdie putt. He saved par at No. 16 with a 15-foot putt after hitting into the rough. On No. 17, he recorded another birdie to move back to even par, and at No. 18, he hit into a greenside bunker but escaped with a par.

Gibson will tee off at 3:55 p.m. (9:55 a.m. Oklahoma time) on Friday and will again play in a group with Brian Harman of the U.S. and Hyung-Tae Kim of South Korea.

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Thu, 17 Jul 2014 14:45:00 CDT 95adbb85-91eb-4a0b-9781-6d7be27e246f
OC alum Gibson has ‘a great opportunity’ to make his name in British Open By Murray Evans
OKLAHOMA CITY (July 15, 2014) – Rhein Gibson looks at an entry list that includes golf royalty like Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, Tom Watson and Phil Mickelson and immediately knows his place at the British Open.

“I’m a small fish in a big pond,” said Gibson, a member of the Oklahoma Christian Athletic Hall of Fame. “I’ve got no real credentials … I know a lot of the younger (golfers), but Ernie Els and those guys, it will be weird to be playing in the same tournament as them.”

But that’s what the 29-year-old Australian – who was a four-time NAIA All-America pick during his playing days at OC – will be doing this week at Royal Liverpool Golf Club. A fourth-place finish in last December’s Australian Open earned Gibson, who now lives in Edmond, Okla., a spot in the world’s most prestigious tournament.

It will be the biggest sporting event in which an OC graduate has participated since current assistant track and field coach Jeff Bennett finished fourth in the decathlon in the 1972 Olympics in Munich. Gibson is both happy to be playing in his first major tournament and hungry for more.

“It’s definitely an accomplishment to be in my first major,” Gibson said. “There are 156 guys here this week and I’m happy to be one of them. If things don’t go my way, being here is a feat in itself. But I’ve got a great opportunity to show the world I can play this game.

“At this point I don’t have a lot of expectations. It’s already been an awesome week and it’s only going to get better. It will be beneficial for me and my future in golf. These are the guys, if I go get on bigger tours, that I’ll be playing against, so the sooner I can get out here and meet them, the better.”

Among those who will be following Gibson in person this week is OC men’s golf coach David Lynn, who recruited Gibson to OC. Lynn – who last week caddied for Fred Hanover during the U.S. Senior Open at Oak Tree National in Edmond – flew to England on Sunday. After playing a couple of quick rounds himself at Royal Troon and Turnberry in Scotland, Lynn headed to Liverpool to meet up with Gibson.

“I think this is a really big deal,” Lynn said. “For all of the world outside the U.S., the British Open is just ‘The Open.’  It’s the major everyone wants to win and be a part of.  It’s a huge accomplishment. …  It is the pinnacle of his sport.

“Any time one of your players reaches the highest stage, I think it says a lot about your program. Hopefully it says OC gave him the opportunity to compete and be successful on the course and in the classroom. “

While at OC, Gibson won four individual tournament titles while helping the Eagles to a pair of runner-up finishes and a pair of third-place team showings at the NAIA Championship. Shortly after his graduation in 2008, he won the Oklahoma state amateur title and was named as the Oklahoma state amateur player of the year in 2008.

He’s most famous for a memorable round in May 2012 at River Oaks Golf Club in Oklahoma City, during which he set a world scoring record by shooting a 55. The round earned him worldwide media attention, from the likes of The Associated Press, Golf World, Golf Digest, USA Today and Sports Illustrated, among others. But while it was a great topic of conversation, it didn’t open many doors for him when it came to entering tournaments.

Mostly, Gibson has toiled on the so-called “mini-tours,” winning events such as the Brickyard Open in Indiana, the Avoca Classic in North Carolina and the Arkansas Open, the latter two in 2013.

Last October, he tied for fourth at the Nanshan China Masters, finishing behind a pair of major winners, Charl Schwartzel and Darren Clarke. Then Gibson played in the Australian Open in Sydney and found himself on a leaderboard with two other major winners, Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott. Gibson closed with a 3-under 69 in the final round and finished tied for fourth.

The top three finishers who hadn’t already qualified for the British Open qualified through the Australian Open. Thus Gibson – who was 998th in the most recent world ranking – guaranteed himself a spot at Royal Liverpool.

Gibson has experience on links golf courses, which are a familiar sight in Great Britain, having played in the British Amateur in 2007 and 2008, making it to the match-play portion of the event in the latter year. He played at par-72, 7,312-yard Royal Liverpool for the first time last Thursday, then practiced on the course Monday and again on Wednesday.

The wind, he said, was stronger than that in Oklahoma, meaning he will want to keep his ball on the ground as much as possible.

“It’s a golf course that if you drive it well and play it well and keep it in play, you can do really well,” Gibson said. “You’ve got to keep it out of the pot bunkers, hit it solid in the wind and go from there. Driving will be important this week. The fairways aren’t very wide and have long grass on each side. It’s a very intimidating look from the tee. With no trees, it’s hard to pick lines off tee boxes.”

This will be the 10th time the Open has been played at Royal Liverpool. The last time, in 2006, Woods won and he’s making his well-chronicled return to major-tournament golf this week after recovering from back surgery.

Gibson will be in the 25th group to tee off Thursday, along with Brian Harman of the U.S. – who won the John Deere Classic on the PGA Tour on Sunday – and Hyung-Tae Kim of South Korea. The group is scheduled to start at 10:54 a.m. (4:54 a.m. Oklahoma time).

“I’m not intimidated by the players,” Gibson said. “It’s just more the magnitude of the event. The amount of people in the grandstands – it’s a different level. It’s the first time I’ve experienced it and hopefully it won’t be the last. If I do well, it could open up some doors. It reinforces that what I’m doing is right. If I play well, or if I don’t, I will be happy to have been here.”

Lynn said Gibson has worked hard for years to earn the opportunity of playing in this week’s tournament.

“It’s not hard for me to see and envision Rhein being successful,” Lynn said. “Golf is golf and Rhein has no fear of being successful.  I have an immense amount of pride knowing he came through our program and knowing how hard he has worked since his first day as a freshman at OC.  The transformation has been incredible to witness.”

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Tue, 15 Jul 2014 15:45:00 CDT c0537c7d-a3d9-43cb-8c06-c9a6671a0fa7
North Carolina sprint standout Henson signs to run for Lady Eagles EDMOND, Okla. (July 15, 2014) – Paradise Henson, a sprint standout from North Carolina who has Oklahoma connections, has signed a letter of intent to compete in track and field for Oklahoma Christian, OC track coach Randy Heath said Tuesday.

Henson, from Wilson, N.C., has spent this summer in Edmond with family members and has competed in summer meets with friends from an area high school.

In her home state, Henson finished ninth in the 300 meters for Fike High School at the North Carolina Class 3A Indoor State Championships as a senior with a time of 44.03 seconds. Her top times in sprint events are 7.84 seconds in the 55 meters, 12.37 seconds in the 100 meters and 26.14 in the 200 meters. She’s also run a 59-second split in the 400-meter relay.

Earlier this month in the U.S. Track and Field Region 9 Championships in Hendrix, Ark., Henson finished fifth in the 100 meters in the 17-18 age division with a time of 12.87 seconds and fifth in the 200 meters in 26.14 seconds.

“Paradise will be our top sprinter next year and should be very competitive in the short sprints in every meet on our schedule,” Heath said. “Also, Paradise will be an outstanding relay sprinter for the Lady Eagles.”

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Tue, 15 Jul 2014 13:45:00 CDT 437f538b-15ae-437b-95b4-1487fcecc513
Oklahoman features highly-ranked game design program The Oklahoman featured a full-page article on Oklahoma Christian University's Gaming and Animation, ranked No. 14 in the nation by The Princeton Review and PC Gamer.

Click here to read the feature story by Matt Patterson from The Oklahoman's June 13 edition.

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Mon, 14 Jul 2014 12:00:00 CDT bf8fa4d3-f493-49b2-8ac9-efc1f964096b
Mission work essential for OC nursing students By James Coburn, Courtesy of Oklahoma’s Nursing Times

As of June 1, the status of the Oklahoma Christian Department of Nursing has changed to the Oklahoma Christian University School of Nursing, said Kay Elder, RN, nursing school chair.

“There is some restructuring going on with Oklahoma Christian University, and nursing is now part of the newly formed College of Natural and Health Sciences, along with biology and history,” Elder said.

The summer campus appears a peaceful setting at OC. Eleven traditional transfer students remain on campus to finish their health assessment course work at the OC School of Nursing. They will be joining the junior class in the fall. In July, they will be learning the fundamentals of nursing. During June and July, they are studying pharmacology, Elder said.

“We’ve been doing a lot of recruitment fairs and admission events,” she said. “We’ve been very busy, as well as with the RN to BSN program. The first cohort is up and running and they are just finishing their first two classes with eight students.”

The second cohort of the RN to BSN will begin September 1, said Rhea Ann Lee, RN, program coordinator. They are hoping to have a cohort of around 15 students.

Additionally for the traditional nursing program, the OC School of Nursing has the largest group coming into our sophomore classes, Elder said. So far, there are 51 students, compared to the previous maximum of 41 students.

“We still have students changing majors or transferring into the university,” Elder said. “It looks like we may have 60 sophomore nursing students, which when we’re looking at labs, that’s 50 percent more labs than we’ve had before. We’re experiencing growth. It’s very exciting and it doesn’t feel like summer slowed down.”

In order to accommodate future growth for the OC School of Nursing, the university has kicked off a Thrive fundraising campaign for a new OC School of Nursing facility. Anticipations are for the fundraising program to be completed by 2017.

“Nursing is in the first tier, and they intend to gut and redo the north end of Heritage Plaza for nursing. We’ll have our labs, our classrooms, our offices in a dedicated area for nursing, which we really need,” Elder said. “We’ve outgrown our existing space.”

The school continues to invest in its students. Part of that criteria deals with mission work. Students take Health Care Missions and Christian Service in their junior year. In the first three weeks following graduation, the nursing students either go to Honduras for mission work or they will stay local to work with under-served populations, Elder said.

“They work in the hospitals in Honduras and help with the clinics up in the mountains,” Elder said. “They do health education through interpreters in the mountain village schools.”

They also spend a day in a children’s home dedicated to children living with disabilities. These children in Honduras have been shunned and abandoned by their families, Elder said. So they live in state-run orphanages.

“That’s something that always touches the students’ hearts,” Elder said. “There are many children in wheelchairs. There are some who are severely disabled and non verbal. But most of the times they give smiles, even if there are not other things they can do. The students tell us this is a very valuable part of their nursing curriculum.”

Many of the students returned for other medical missions. One of the students, who graduated from the 2010 class, went to Rwanda with Mercy Hospital, Elder said. This student was successful in providing improvements to the hospital’s best practices.

“We’re very excited about that. Students who do not choose to do missions in Honduras, stay local and work with under-served populations,” Elder said. “They work doing health care education with Headstart, which of course has income requirements. That’s a fun day when you’re dealing with 3- and 4-year olds, telling them about healthy eating and exercise, about hand washing and tooth brushing. They just really love it.”

The students also work with Luther Public Schools, where 85 percent of the students are provided lunch for free. The school district does not have a school nurse to help the children in Luther. So the students provide health screenings at the schools.
“We also work with individuals with disabilities in Make Promises Happen in Guthrie,” Elder said.

The Christian-oriented camp is for children living with disabilities through recreation. Nursing students are 24/7 with the campers. They learn about what resources the children’s parents and caregivers need. One consideration is how a caregiver would provide safety for these children. Motivation and burnout prevention for these caregiver is noted.

“That is an important part of our domestic missions,” Elder said.

They also work with Lighthouse Medical Clinic, which is associated with the Churches of Christ in downtown Oklahoma City.

“The whole purpose of our mission clinical is that they must work with under-served populations,” Elder said.

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Mon, 14 Jul 2014 11:00:00 CDT 2526c95e-21ef-4127-897a-479f58e505ea
OC Honors Summer Academy hosts 97 students from 24 states Ambitious high school students from 24 states are at Oklahoma Christian University this week and the next for an academically challenging preview of college life.

Whether seeking to solve a cold case, build robots or study the evolution of video games and animation, the 97 students in OC’s Honors Summer Academy will stay busy learning.

“The Honors Summer Academy is a great way for determined high school students to learn more about Christian higher education,” said Dr. Jim Baird, director of OC’s Honors Program. “They take academically rigorous courses for college credit, learn more about how we are all part of a global community, and build meaningful relationships with each other and their professors.”

The annual, six-day college experience encourages the pursuit of excellence by gifted and talented students finishing their freshman through junior years of high school. This year, OC added a second week in response to the Academy’s strong demand, and nine students signed up to attend both weeks, which started on July 6 and end on July 18.

By the end of the program, students will have developed the confidence to continue their academic pursuit of excellence, link academics to their faith and demonstrate the impact of experiential learning and service to others. Each participant can earn two hours of transferable college credit.

Students stay in OC’s Honors House at Davisson Hall, which offers the opportunity to live in a community dedicated to equipping Christian students for the pursuit of academic excellence.

This is the fifth year that OC has hosted the Honors Summer Academy, and all 106 openings were filled before June. While more than half of the students are from Oklahoma, the number of other states represented increased to 24.

“Last year, we had more applicants than available spaces, which is one of the reasons we added a second week,” Baird said. “We work very hard to build an intellectually and spiritually fulfilling experience for these high-achieving students. We also want them to have fun, and the students have really enjoyed their experiences here.”

Every class comes with some significant and practical experience:

  • An “In Cold Blood” Forensic Science class in which students will work a cold case and wash a dollar bill to test for drug residue.
  • A visit to Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City for the Introduction to Foundations of Health Ethics class.
  • A field trip to a video game and animation design company.
  • An experience building robots for the Introduction to Engineering class.
  • A cellular biology lab in which students will culture cells from Henryetta Lacks.
  • A community service project with the Lighthouse Medical Clinic and Capitol Hill Church of Christ’s Book Buddy literacy program (Academy students will select, read and give away books to elementary through junior high students in the Capitol Hill area of Oklahoma City).
  • A meeting with Edmond-based Holocaust writer Michael Korenbilit, whose book highlights his parents’ survival in concentration camps, in the Holocaust Literature class.
  • A tour of the “Story of Hope” exhibit at Feed the Children, raising awareness of poverty worldwide.
  • A Tolkien class in which students will create a map of the Tolkien literary world.
  • A field trip to see and handle relics from Greece and Rome as part of the class on the Greek poet Homer.
  • A music class project produced through one of OC’s Macintosh computer labs using multiple instruments and GarageBand software.

The Honors Program at OC includes more than 150 students.

According to Baird, the average ACT score for honors students is 31, and more than a quarter of these students are National Merit Scholars. Admission is highly selective, but not solely exam-based.

Accomplished alumni have gone on to attain professional degrees in business, law and medicine, and many others have received scholarships to prestigious doctorate and post-doctorate programs across the United States.

Most OC Honors students study abroad in the fall or summer of their sophomore year (Vienna, Austria or Pacific Rim). All Honors students participate in Symposium each Monday; past Honors Symposium speakers have included Civil Rights attorney Fred Gray, astronaut Douglas Wheelock, constitutional historian Rufus Fears and biblical scholar and theologian N.T. Wright. More information is available at

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Fri, 11 Jul 2014 14:00:00 CDT 1ef69d93-8d69-403f-8b60-47986eb7f1ec
Oklahoma Christian advances to 3rd year of NCAA membership process OKLAHOMA CITY (July 11, 2014) – Oklahoma Christian University has advanced into the third and final year of the three-year NCAA Division II membership process, the national organization said Friday.

As of Sept. 1, OC will be considered a provisional NCAA Division II member and if all goes well, the university could be a full member by the 2015-16 academic year.

"We are gratified that the NCAA Division II membership committee has approved Oklahoma Christian's move into the provisional membership stage,” OC President John deSteiguer said. “We have worked hard to develop a quality athletic program that will be able to compete at the Division II level while remaining true to our ideals as a Christian institution.

“We take seriously the belief that our student-athletes are, indeed, students first. We believe that OC and the NCAA are a great match and we look forward to working during the next year toward our goal of becoming a full NCAA member."

After examining an extensive report prepared by the university, the NCAA’s Division II membership committee determined that during 2013-14, OC successfully served what is called Candidacy Year Two, during which time the university continued work on developing stringent organizational processes to become NCAA-ready and had to follow all NCAA rules and regulations.

During 2014-15, OC will be in year three of the membership process, which is traditionally known as the “provisional year,” after which a university could gain full NCAA membership and become eligible to compete for NCAA Division II championships.

The Division II membership committee annually determines if an institution should be moved forward into the next candidacy year and it can require an institution to repeat a year if progress is not sufficient.

"I'm very proud of our coaches and staff, who worked very hard this past year to not only understand NCAA rules and regulations but implement them as well into our everyday operations,” OC Athletic Director Curtis Janz said. “Oklahoma Christian has a culture of striving for excellence. This process has pushed us to evaluate how we do things and dedicate ourselves to doing them in a way that we believe will make us a model NCAA Division II program in the future.

“We are pouring the foundation. It was a challenging year, yet we were diligent and professional in every endeavor and it has paid off with the NCAA's decision to approve Oklahoma Christian for provisional membership. We're excited to have our name linked with the NCAA brand, and I think we'll see more inspired efforts throughout the coming years."

During the 2012-13 academic year, OC began competing as a member of the Heartland Conference, a Division II league with 11 member schools in Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas and Texas. Two other Heartland schools also advanced in the Division II membership process – Lubbock Christian (Texas) to the third year and Rogers State to the second year. Former Heartland member McMurry (Texas) withdrew from the process earlier this year and is returning to NCAA Division III.

The membership committee's decisions will be reviewed by the NCAA Division II Management Council as part of its regular process during its July 21-22 meeting. If no further action is taken at that time, the membership changes will take effect Sept. 1.

In addition to moving forward with the NCAA membership process, OC will continue to compete as a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association, which provides postseason opportunities for OC’s student-athletes. During the 2013-14 academic year, OC finished second in the NCCAA in softball, third in women’s golf, fourth in the NCCAA in men’s cross country and men’s golf, fifth in women’s basketball and eighth in baseball and men’s and women’s outdoor track and field.

During 2012-13, in its first year as an NCCAA member, OC won national titles in men’s cross country and men’s golf, was the runner-up in women’s golf and men’s basketball and finished fourth in women’s basketball and men’s indoor track and field.

OC offers varsity programs in baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s soccer, softball and men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field.

Founded in 1906, the NCAA oversees 88 championships in 23 sports. There are more than 400,000 student-athletes competing in three divisions at more than 1,000 colleges and universities within the NCAA, including more than 300 in Division II. In Oklahoma, 12 universities – including OC – either are full members of or seeking membership in Division II. The average enrollment of Division II schools is about 4,200 students.

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Fri, 11 Jul 2014 10:00:00 CDT 9fa2036f-49e1-4d86-995b-3ede4ecf53ab
OC golf coach Lynn becomes a last-minute caddy at U.S. Senior Open EDMOND, Okla. (July 10, 2014) – David Lynn didn’t wake up Thursday planning to play a part in the U.S. Senior Open, but the Oklahoma Christian men’s golf coach jumped at the opportunity when it presented itself.

Lynn ended up spending the afternoon and early evening as a caddy for his friend Fred Hanover on a hot and humid day at Oak Tree National, a course with which Lynn is quite familiar.

Hanover, who’s from San Marcos, Calif., originally wasn’t scheduled to play in the tournament after failing to qualify from an event in Vista, Calif. But Hanover was told Tuesday by the U.S. Golf Association that he was the top alternate, so he traveled to Edmond and stayed with Lynn’s father, Greg Lynn (who is OC’s women’s golf coach) while waiting to see if he’d get to play.

The Lynns were hitting balls on the range at Oak Tree Country Club – across the street from Oak Tree National – when David Lynn received a text from Hanover that Jay Haas had withdrawn from the tournament due to a back injury, which meant Hanover would be in the field. But he needed a caddy.

David Lynn tried to drive his vehicle across the street, but wasn’t allowed to do so. So he returned his vehicle to the Country Club side of the street and grabbed a golf cart and drove underneath the road, through a tunnel that connects the Country Club side to Oak Tree National’s side. He drove the cart through the neighborhood surrounding Oak Tree National, then had to talk his way onto the course.

“I’m sure the (security) lady had heard it all before, how I needed to be let into the tournament even though I didn’t have a ticket,” he said, laughing.

He arrived at the No. 1 tee just in time to see Hanover tee off in a prime grouping that included local favorite Scott Verplank of Edmond and Jeff Sluman, who won the 1988 PGA Championship at Oak Tree.

“It was a pretty unreal experience,” Lynn said. “On that first tee, my heart was in my throat, it was so nerve-wracking, and I wasn’t even playing. It was so surreal.”

Hanover shot an 86 (15-over-par), but did manage a birdie on the par-4 No. 9.

Lynn had caddied before during some mini-tour events, but never in a major tournament. He’ll caddy for Hanover as long as he survives in the U.S. Senior Open, then head to Liverpool, England, early next week, where he’ll watch OC alum Rhein Gibson play in the British Open.

“That’s quite a two weeks of golf,” Lynn said.

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Thu, 10 Jul 2014 21:15:00 CDT d43dd1dd-2177-4341-877c-a30ec9329f8a
Johnston ends run at Trans-Miss Championship at Southern Hills TULSA, Okla. (July 9, 2014) – Sam Johnston’s time at the prestigious Trans-Mississippi Championship proved to be short.

Johnston struggled to a 9-over-par 79 on Wednesday at famed Southern Hills Country Club and didn’t make the cut for the final two rounds. The two-time NCAA Division II All-American for Oklahoma Christian ended the day at 12-over 152 on the 7,104-yard layout, five shots over the cut line.

The rising junior from San Diego began his second round on No. 10 and opened with a birdie on the par-4 hole to improve to 2-over for the tournament. But he followed with a double bogey at the par-3 No. 11 and then bogeyed four of the next five holes.

A birdie at the par-4 No. 18 put him back at 7-over – which would have been good enough to make the cut – but he couldn’t hang on, with three bogeys and a double bogey over his final nine holes. He tied for 104th in the 143-player field.

The Trans-Miss will end with 36 holes on Thursday. Among the previous winners of the Trans-Miss Championship are Jack Nicklaus, Bob Tway and Ben Crenshaw – all winners of major professional golf championships.

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Wed, 09 Jul 2014 22:15:00 CDT b3171cac-327e-4b39-bb37-e8390600ee59
Air Academy’s Pape to join Oklahoma Christian baseball team AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (July 9, 2014) – Zachary Pape of Air Academy High School has signed to play college baseball at Oklahoma Christian, OC coach Lonny Cobble said Wednesday.

Pape, a 6-foot-2 right-handed pitcher from Wheat Ridge, Colo., went 2-1 with a 3.19 ERA last season for Air Academy, which finished 11-8-1 overall. Pape also played shortstop for the Kadets and hit .348. He received honorable mention on the Colorado Springs Gazette’s all-area team.

“He has good velocity and is a strike thrower,” Cobble said. “He will get nothing but better being here at OC. He slipped through the cracks and we were fortunate we got a hold of him.”

Pape will join an OC signing class that also includes Ryan Ward of North Richland Hills, Texas; Ben McKenzie of Dallas, a transfer from Frank Phillips College (Texas); Jordan Jones of Henderson, Colo.; Josh Garbrecht of Edmond; Carson James of Oklahoma City; and Brennan Walker of Oklahoma City, a transfer from Butler Community College (Kan.).

That group will join an OC program that’s on the rise as the university goes through the NCAA Division II membership process. The Eagles have won the last two National Christian College Athletic Association Central Region titles, qualifying for the NCCAA World Series both years for the program’s first national-tournament appearances since 1972.

Last season, OC finished 38-17-1, setting a program record for wins in a season. The Eagles were third in the final regular-season standings in the Division II Heartland Conference and finished the regular season sixth in the Division II South Central Region rankings – good enough to qualify for them for the Division II postseason, had they been eligible.

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Wed, 09 Jul 2014 15:00:00 CDT 41a8b3e3-9307-40ee-b0c4-8cc3cb7206c9
OC’s Johnston within striking distance after 1st day at Trans-Miss Championship TULSA, Okla. (July 8, 2014) – Oklahoma Christian’s Sam Johnston shot a 3-over 73 to remain within striking distance of the leaders on Tuesday in the first round of the 111th Trans-Mississippi Championship, one of the nation’s top amateur golf tournaments.

Johnston, a rising junior from San Diego, was six shots behind a trio of golfers – Michael Gellerman of Sterling, Kan.; Alex Franklin of San Rafael, Calif.; and Will Zalatoris of Plano, Texas – who each shot a 67 on the par-70, 7,104-yard Southern Hills Country Club course.

Johnston – a two-time NCAA Division II All-America second-team selection for the Eagles – started on No. 10 at historic Southern Hills, the site of numerous major pro and amateur tournaments through the decades. He birdied the par-5 No. 13 but followed with a double bogey at the par-3 No. 14 and a bogey at No. 15.

But Johnston steadied himself the rest of the way and had only one more bogey in his final 12 holes. He ended the day tied for 42nd in the 143-player field.

The Trans-Miss will continue Wednesday, after which the field will be cut to the top 54 players (plus ties). The tournament will end with 36 holes on Thursday. Among the previous winners of the Trans-Miss Championship are Jack Nicklaus, Bob Tway and Ben Crenshaw – all winners of major professional golf championships.

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Tue, 08 Jul 2014 21:15:00 CDT e774291a-b1cb-4bdb-9269-92311f16761a
Oklahoma Christian softball signs Grayson’s Finch to squad DENISON, Texas (July 8, 2014) – Kelsie Finch, a standout catcher at Grayson (Texas) Community College, has signed a letter of intent to play softball at Oklahoma Christian, OC coach Tom Heath said Tuesday.

Finch, who attended high school at Liberty Christian in Argyle, Texas, will have two seasons of eligibility remaining with the Lady Eagles.

As a sophomore, Finch hit .296 with five home runs and 24 RBIs for Grayson, which finished 27-21 this past spring.

In high school, Finch was selected to play in the Texas Private School Coaches Association’s All-Star Softball Game. She was a first-team pick on the Denton Record-Chronicle’s All-Area Team as a senior in 2012 after hitting .552 with 30 RBIs and was a three-time TAPPS all-district first-team selection.

She is the third player to join OC’s signing class for the 2015 season, along with Sheridan Bond and Madison Nordyke, both of whom played at Edmond North High School.

The trio will join an OC program on the rise. OC went 42-16 in 2014, tying the program record for single-season wins. The Lady Eagles finished as the National Christian College Athletic Association runners-up, matching the highest national finish ever by an OC women’s team.

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Tue, 08 Jul 2014 18:15:00 CDT 51592b3f-b713-45ad-b1a3-915c701f64f8