Live From Women’s College World Series: University of Oklahoma Social Department Blends the Achievements of Jocelyn Alo With Team’s Championship Mentality
Jocelyn Alo’s historic career was a main focus this season
With the eyes of the collegiate softball world on the University of Oklahoma, it pays to be the defending champion that’s now one game away from bringing another title back to Norman, OK. Numerous storylines dictated the trajectory and pace of the 2022 campaign, but none was bigger and of more importance than the all-time records set by redshirt senior Jocelyn Alo.
Known for her powerful swing that’s written her name in the Sooners and NCAA history books, the game’s most successful and feared hitter has provided unforgettable memories that have played extremely well on the program’s social media channels. since it was a far-gone conclusion that she would break the program and all-time home run record, this well-executed plan of content that came together before the season started.
“We had a handful of meetings during the preseason to plan out when we thought it was going to happen,” says Patrick Dunn, assistant director, communications, University of Oklahoma. “She tied the record in Houston, so we originally thought it was going to be done in Palm Springs, but we had to take our coverage to another level when the team flew to Hawaii.”
In a true full-circle moment, the slugger made her return to her home state for the four-game Rainbow Wahine Classic on the precipice of history. Featuring Baylor, Cal, and the University of Hawaii, the games were played in Honolulu — a 45-minute drive from her hometown of Hauula. The early season road trip provided opportunities for Alo to reconnect with her community on the field that she grew up playing on and give the digital team a chance to build around the impending historical moment:
— Oklahoma Softball (@OU_Softball) March 10, 2022
Heading into the first of two games vs. the University of Hawaii on Friday, March 11, Alo was tied at 95 homeruns with 2012 Big XII Freshmen of the Year, 2013 National Champion, and OU softball legend Lauren Chamberlain. With a five-hour time difference, the social team was a bit worried that no one would be awake to witness the record-breaking 96th career long ball, but when Alo deposited a pitch over the right center field wall in the sixth inning at 11:54 p.m. CT, the Sooner faithful ate up the video edited by Lead Videographer/Editor Grant Wade:
— Oklahoma Softball (@OU_Softball) March 12, 2022
Throughout the next week, social media exploded with content about Alo’s homer. A thread by Dunn showcased just how much Alo-related content was generated from one swing of the bat, including a reel of all 96 homeruns, footage from her first interview as a freshman back in 2018, and more. Alternate views of the blast were also made available, including one from the celebration at home plate. With the help of junior pitcher Macy McAdoo, Dunn and Wade gave her a GoPro to hold as Alo was surround by her teammates:
Over the last five seasons, Jocelyn Alo hit 95 home runs in just about every corner of the country for the Sooners.
Last night, her NCAA record-breaking 96th came in her home state of Hawaii.
Where it all started pic.twitter.com/92q3Vh2G6L
— Front Office Sports (@FOS) March 12, 2022
The Alo success story continued a few days later back on the mainland of the United States. On Sunday, March 20 during a 20-0 win vs. Iowa, the new homerun queen became the first collegiate player ever to eclipse the century mark. As an homage to Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game, the crew captured a postgame photo of her holding the hand-drawn “100” on a piece of paper.
Tying together Alo’s trailblazing career and the season-long goal of pointing out important stories of individual players, the crew put together a package that highlighted Alo’s impact on her teammates:
I could cry, I do what I do because of my team❤️ Thank you for being my girls for life https://t.co/TO69BDKhTd
— Jocelyn Alo (@78jocelyn_alo) June 1, 2022
The program’s social channels also did an impressive job of showcasing who the players are as people. For example, during an unscripted moment after sealing the Big XII regular season title vs. Oklahoma State on Friday, May 6, the squad gathered on the infield for a group dance:
— Oklahoma Softball (@OU_Softball) May 7, 2022
Shifting to Oklahoma City and the Women’s College World Series, the main focus is now highlighting the potential of adding a sixth National Championship to the trophy case. Tapping into the theme of “Championship Mentality,” some videos are recapping the program’s history of winning at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium:
— Oklahoma Softball (@OU_Softball) June 8, 2022
Despite the stake’s being at their highest in the best-of-three championship bout, year-long traditions that bring levity and laughter are still being recorded. As a pregame superstition, sophomore Jayda Coleman has become synonymous with a pregame message to Dunn’s camera as the team gets off of the bus. Prior to last night’s Game 1, Coleman offered another message to fire up the Sooners:
— Oklahoma Softball (@OU_Softball) June 8, 2022
Since the title series is being played only 26 miles north of the Norman campus, the production team has some added flexibility. Creatives from other programs are forced to carry all of their equipment or make the tough decision of leaving some behind, but in the case of Oklahoma, the close proximity to Norman also allows for the exchanging of technologies throughout the week. As the main contact allowed on the field capturing pregame shots and other content, Wade is leveraging a handful of devices on gameday. His arsenal included a Sony a7 III with a Canon EF Zoom 28-300mm lens for wider shots and a Canon EF Telephoto Zoom 100-400mm for close ups as well as a Sony FX3 with a 24mm PRIME lens on a Ronin Gimbal.
As for content, the network of staffers can be expanded for more efficiency. This strategy includes leveraging the help of students for both onsite and offsite support. In a group that includes Alexis Martinez, Michael Meek, Peyton Goure, Ryan Scudder, and Trayton Acosta, the group rotates between shooting the games in OKC to editing back in Norman. Rather than shooting a game and having to travel 45 minutes back to campus, this offsite editor can cut down on turnaround times for the team to post elements quickly to social media. Photographer Ty Russell and Directo, Creative Content Johnny Smiley have been at the complex to help Wade with additional photos of the action. Dunn is receiving assistance from Associate Director, Digital Media Erica Slife to post graphics and information to social media. In addition, Caleb Huckriede and SoonerVision Director/Editor Richard Mardis are handling soundbites from the radio and TV broadcasts for insertion into highlight packages that are clipped for social.
This star-studded lineup, along with the onfield lineup that is posting win after win, is the recipe for successful social media coverage. In a year that will hopefully end with the raising of the National Championship trophy over the heads of the Sooners, Wade’s biggest moment of satisfaction comes from the growth of the students under his wing.
“The proudest that I get is when I see our students shoot and make something that they’re super excited to post,” says Wade. “They’re doing something that they’re passionate about, but when they get that taste of seeing our fanbase enjoy a piece of content that they created, that’s when they realize that this is what they want to do as a full-time job. Everyone’s knocked it out of the park this year, but it all starts with us being able to capture the story of this incredible program.”