Several schools extended offers her way. Little did they know, they stood virtually no chance of signing her.
Stillwater was always home deep down in her heart. And starting in the fall of 2014, it will become her actual residence.
On Thursday, Tahlequah shortstop Randee O’Donnell made her longstanding commitment to Oklahoma State University official by signing her letter of intent with family and friends in attendance inside Tahlequah High School’s jam-packed cafeteria.
For O’Donnell, there was never a doubt in her mind that she would eventually sign with Oklahoma State after committing to the Cowgirls prior to her junior year of high school.
“My dad is from Stillwater and my mom attended school at OSU, and of course my grandparents are their biggest fans,” O’Donnell said. “So I attended many events at OSU and I always felt at home on campus. Everyone supports everyone there, and that’s what I want to be a part of.”
O’Donnell — who helped lead Tahlequah to its fourth straight state tournament appearance during the recently-concluded 2013 season — said Central Arkansas, Tulsa and Wichita State all gave her offers, but she never thought of beginning her collegiate career anywhere other than at OSU.
“After getting my offer from OSU, I never really considered going anywhere else,” said O’Donnell, who had a slugging percentage of .692 to go along with her .524 on-base percentage during her senior year.
“I knew OSU is where I was supposed to go. It always just felt like home.”
O’Donnell capped off her varsity career by logging a .442 batting average, 41 runs scored, 13 stolen bases and a team-high 45 runs batted in. All of that — with only 10 strikeouts in 150 plate appearances — led to All-State honors for O’Donnell.
“Making All-State is awesome,” said O’Donnell, who blasted a three-run home run in the seventh inning to break a 2-2 tie and give Tahlequah 5-2 win over Chickasha in the quarterfinals of the Class 5A state tournament. The Lady Tigers were then eliminated by Carl Albert in the semifinals.
“It’s a goal I’ve strived to accomplish since my freshman year and achieving it is an amazing feeling.”
At shortstop this year, O’Donnell sported a .957 fielding percentage while helping turn seven double plays. She moved from second base to shortstop prior to the beginning of her sophomore year at Tahlequah.
As for her position at OSU, O’Donnell said he’s open to playing anywhere she’s needed.
“Positions haven’t really been talked about,” she said. “I plan on going to practice with an open mind to playing where the team needs me. Whether that’s infield or outfield, it doesn’t matter to me. Winning is the main goal.”