For Jocelyn Alo, Home Run Chase Is About 'Sooner Sisterhood'
Oklahoma slugger Jocelyn Alo has always dreamed of leading the NCAA in home runs. Now, tied at the top of the all-time list with fellow Sooner Lauren Chamberlain at 95 home runs, Alo is one bomb away from making history.
“Ever since I was young, I have had this in my head,” Alo said. “When I got to college and started taking off, I was like, ‘OK, let’s do it.’”
While she makes hitting look both glorious and effortless, the process for Alo to get to this point hasn’t always been smooth sailing. During her sophomore season, Oklahoma head coach Patty Gasso put Alo on a break from softball to mentally reset and realize the purpose behind the game, which ultimately shaped her into the player and person she is today.
“It was a maturing aspect,” Alo said. “I didn't know how to handle pressure. I think it was a learning curve for me and it has definitely helped me become the player that I am today. I always look back at that and think how far I have come.”
After her time away from the game to become more team-focused, Alo did a full turnaround and was able to balance her team's goals with her personal goals. Since then, she has been full steam ahead to be able to achieve this goal.
“When Jocelyn puts her mind to something, she is going to do it,” Gasso said. “It is really unique for someone her age. When she gets her mind set on it, she gets it done. Kids from Hawaii don’t do this on the big stage.”
Every time Alo steps up to the plate now, she feels the pressure of not only beating an NCAA record, but also beating a record that is currently in the Sooner family. In times of nervousness, Alo turns to Chamberlain since no one understands the situation better than her.
“I think sometimes it is not so much advice, but knowing that someone else felt the things that you felt,” Chamberlain said. “Sometimes you have to have some relief knowing that the person who did this before you felt those things. My biggest piece of advice to her has been just keep swinging.”
While taking advice from Chamberlain and her coaches, Alo has also dedicated a lot of time to watching film, studying herself and perfecting her swing. She knows her values and lets the confidence she has built over the last five years shine in the box. To her, this has just become another box to check as she accomplishes goals in her softball career.
“I was actually talking to (coach JT Gasso) about this,” Alo said. “He was just saying to embrace it as a challenge and I do like challenges. I like when I’m being pushed and I like overcoming certain things. I'm just looking at this as another challenge, and I know I’m going to beat it.”
Coincidentally, Alo has the opportunity to break Chamberlain’s record at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, which is the same place the two met back when Alo was a freshman. Since then, Chamberlain and Alo have built a close relationship, with Chamberlain being a big supporter of Alo in this chase.
“It is really just a Sooner sisterhood type of thing,” Alo said. “(Lauren) has been a very big advocate for this. She has been happy about it because, yes, it's being broken, but it is staying in the Sooner program.”
As a fifth-year senior, breaking this record means everything to Alo. All her hard work is paying off and she believes her younger self would be incredibly proud of the climb she has been through.
“I am a lucky girl whose dreams came true,” Alo said. “I hope I can continue to inspire other girls and boys to go out there and chase their dreams because you never know what can happen.”
For now, it’s all Oklahoma at the top of the NCAA home run list, and Gasso believes it will be a while before anyone will touch Alo's new record.
“It really cements the Sooners as one of the best hitting programs to have played the college game as of right now,” Gasso said. “To have Lauren have it, Jocelyn take it, it is just a celebration of hitting excellence in this program. I credit our hitting coaches to how they get there along the way.”