Representatives of Oklahoma Baptist University's popular intramural sports program reached the quarterfinals of the American Intercollegiate Intramural Championship's National Flag Football Tournament in New Orleans recently, after taking the top trophy at a regional contest.
The women's team, "Butta," made up of OBU students and one staff member, were awarded a free entry and travel stipend for the national collegiate championship Dec. 27-31 when they won the Midwestern regional competition at the University of Nebraska in November. The women also claimed the sportsmanship award and boasted the most valuable player of the tournament, Whitney Hodges, a senior from Beaverton, Ore.
Twenty-seven women's teams from across the country and Mexico competed at the national tournament hosted by the University of New Orleans. The winner and runner-up played an exhibition game in the Louisiana Superdome before the start of the Sugar Bowl.
The tournament is the largest seven-man, no-contact flag football tournament. One hundred and thirty teams competed overall.
The seven-man screen game is played on a 40x80-yard field. Teams are placed in pools of three teams, where they play two games and the top two advance to single elimination playoffs.
The OBU team won a match-up against Western Kentucky State University and received a bye into the playoffs for their second game. They won a double overtime game against Virginia Wise University and lost in a quarterfinal game to Georgia Southern University.
Thirteen students and OBU assistant director of admissions Carrie Myles were on the team that traveled to both contests.
Students included Rachael Clinton, Edmond; Casey Ferguson, Altus; Staci Foresee, Shawnee; Meredith Fields, Russellville, Ark.; Ashley Bass, Broken Arrow; Whitney Hodges, Beaverton, Ore.; Amanda Parsons, Oklahoma City; Melinda Mayberry, Joplin, Mo.; Leslie Garrison, Anderson, Mo.; Kenan Younger, Corinth, Texas; Chandra Huckabay, Duncan; Abby Rettele, Spring Branch, Texas; and Becca Harris, Aurora, Colo.
This marked Myles seventh year on an OBU flag-football team, and her third visit to the regional tournament. It was her first national tournament though.
"At nationals, the level of play is even higher because many of these teams play in tournaments every weekend," she said.
Another OBU women's flag football team, "Back to Back" visited the national contest during the 1990s.
OBU also maintains a high level of student participation in intramural volleyball, basketball, soccer, softball, bowling, tennis, Putt-Putt, racquetball, wallyball, and Ultimate Frisbee.
"OBU has a reputation at these tournaments," Myles said. "We usually have several men's and women's teams compete at the regional contest and we always do well. A lot of these schools don't have the same level of competition we have at OBU."