OU Women’s Gymnastics honored at White House


Representatives of the 47 student athletes assemble on stage on the South Lawn at the White House before Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at College Athlete Day. (Photo by Ben Dackiw/Gaylord News)

With President Joe Biden sidelined by way of a root canal, Vice President Kamala Harris took over the first College Athlete Day at the White House on Monday, June 12, where OU Women’s Gymnastics was in attendance.

More than 1,000 student-athletes from 47 national championship winning teams were present for an event that was the first of its kind, according to Harris.

“When you take the court, you inspire so many across our country,” said Harris in her speech to the student athletes. “Not only because of how you play, but because of who each of you is every night.”

As a light rain began to fall in the nation’s capital, Harris handed off the microphone to former Texas Longhorns Volleyball star Logan Eggleston. Eggleston spoke highly of the progress women’s sports have made in recent years.

“The progress we have seen has been significant and makes me so proud for what the future holds ,” said Eggleston during her speech. “It is amazing to see so many female athletes supported and recognized here today.”

Monday’s invitation to the White House was the third OU Women’s Gymnastics has received since their National Championship wins in 2017, 2019 and now 2023. While invitations to the White House have become a bit of a political controversy in recent years, OU Gymnast Sheridan Ramsey was just thrilled to be there.

“It’s a once in a lifetime experience,” said Ramsey. “I’m just so honored to be here. I got to turn 21 yesterday and so being here is like the icing on the cake.”

OU has invested heavily in women’s sports over the last several years. Those investments have paid off in the realms of gymnastics and softball. Both programs have become titans in their respective fields, with OU softball completing a three-peat with a third straight national championship and OU women’s gymnastics winning their second straight and third in five years.

Athletic director Joe Castiglione, on about his dozenth trip to the Executive Mansion, said the investments into women’s sports are a no-brainer for him.

“I’ve never thought about it any other way,” said Castiglione. “The athletes that have the chance to go to the best universities in the country, we want this (OU) to be the destination… We know we’re going to compete against the best in the country and because we’re built for being successful, we want them (the student athletes) to have the best experience overall and have the chance to win a championship.”

OU Women’s Gymnastics Head Coach KJ Kindler thinks highly of both her program and women’s sports at OU.

“Obviously, women’s sports at OU are beyond the best,” said Kindler. “This has been a huge opportunity for our women to choose Oklahoma. There’s a new softball field in the works right next to our building and we certainly have a facility on the horizon as well. I’m super proud to be a Sooner and all the investment Joe Castiglione and (President) Joe Harroz have put into women athletes at the university.”

The softball field that Kindler referred to is the $44 million Love’s Field currently being constructed just north of the Lloyd Noble Fieldhouse in Norman. The improvements for OU Gymnastics’ training facilities are expected to cost around $12 million. These two plans are just two pieces in a very expensive puzzle for the university.


Gaylord News is a reporting project of the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication.  For more stories by Gaylord News go to GaylordNews.net.