The Pride of Oklahoma marching band’s snare drum line has just nine coveted spots.
That two of the nine are Charles Page High School graduates — as well as siblings — is nothing short of astounding.
But to be fair, Carter Nance, Class of 2018, and Sara Nance, Class of 2021, come from a long line of traditions.
Their parents, Lori and Steve Nance, also attended Charles Page — she graduated in 1991 and he was in the Class of 1992.
And Steve Nance is a percussionist who once played for the Gold Pride marching band.
Younger sister Katie Nance, a junior at Charles Page, is in the band, and she plays — what else? — snare drum.
Sense a theme?
But it was Carter Nance, 21, who raised the bar on the family traditions when he decided to attend the University of Oklahoma and try out for the Pride.
Even so, he said, much of that is because of his father.
“I grew up an OU football fan,” he said. “Dad was always an OU fan. It just felt right” to go to OU.
He said it also feels right to have one sister — and possibly two — following in his footsteps.
“It’s a really cool feeling,” he said, “especially right now with being a senior at OU and getting to spend my senior year with Sara and then seeing Sara grow in her skills as a percussionist, too.”
For his part, Carter wasn’t always certain he wanted to be in the band in college. A business major, he was much more interested in what OU’s Price College of Business had to offer.
Steve and Lori Nance own Integrity Lighting, and Carter plans to have a career in lighting design, so a business degree made sense.
But an older friend told Carter about his experiences with the band, including attending football bowl games, and Carter “was hooked,” he said.
Besides his college marching career, which has included being the section leader last year and this year, he marched over the summer with the Spirit of Atlanta Drum & Bugle Corps.
The Spirit of Atlanta has competed through Drum Corps International since 1977 and has been a DCI top 12 finalist 20 times.
That experience “is definitely something I’m going to remember for the rest of my life,” Carter said.
Percussion won’t just be a part of his memories, though. Carter said he hopes to teach drums, either through private lessons or helping out at a school somewhere.
First, though, comes marriage. He and Abbagail Agan are planning a June wedding.
But as Carter Nance looks to his future after college, Sara Nance is trying to get used to the fact that her brother won’t be around next year.
“He’s been a big influence. Most of the bigger decisions I’ve made in my life have been with his help,” she said. “He’s always been there for me, even in things beyond drum line.
“I consider him one of my best friends.”
Her brother’s musical influence began at least as early as her sixth-grade year, she said, when she signed up for band and was trying to decide what instrument she wanted to play.
“I just kind of looked up to my older brother and followed in his footsteps,” she said. “He thought I would have more fun drumming.”
Sara, 18, said that influence continued when it was time to choose a college.
“I visited a lot of other colleges and toured them, but I will say that marching band had a big role in where I decided to go,” she said. “The experience of it at OU seemed like it would be a better fit for me.”
Surely taking orders from a section leader who’s also your older brother can be difficult, though, right?
“He’s harsh sometimes, but he really has pushed me to be better,” Sara said. “If he hadn’t pushed me in high school, I probably wouldn’t be in the Pride now.
“He’s been a great teacher over the past few years.”
Like her brother, Sara is also majoring in business at OU, but unlike him, she doesn’t know that she will do anything with music after college.
“I plan to own a coffee shop,” she said. “I’ve always loved coffee. I love the idea that people go there to study and hang out. I love the community feel.
“I want to be able to create a coffee shop that feels like home to other people.”
In the meantime, Sara hopes to revive the sense of home she has with the Pride’s drum line now in a couple of years, when it’s time for younger sister Katie to make a college choice.
“I think she’s looking at OU and likes the idea of being in Pride,” she said, “but it’s still early for her.”
In advance of Saturday’s OU football game against Iowa State, the sisters’ senior sibling turned a bit reflective.
The game would be Carter Nance’s last home performance with the Pride.
“It’s definitely very bittersweet,” he said. “I’m excited for it, but at the same time, I’m sad that it’s the last one.
“It’s been a really cool experience, especially performing with my sister.”
YUKON — Sand Springs has taken some tough losses this season, but none will hurt quite like the Sandites’ 20-17 Class 6AII semifinal loss to Edmond Deer Creek on Friday night.
“It’s all right if it hurts,” head coach Bobby Klinck told his team after the game. “I’m feeling it, too. It’s OK to feel upset; it’s OK to hurt. That means you gave it all you had.
“There’s a lot of things that’ll hurt a lot more than this, and you’ll look back and think that this was a hell of a ride.
“You guys gave everything. This team is the foundation of what we’re fixing to do around here. You set the standard for what we’re doing here.”
Just two seasons removed from a 2-8 campaign, the third-ranked Sandites have advanced in the playoffs each of the past two years, and their 8-4 mark this season is the best for the school since 2014.
But it wasn’t enough to advance to the state finals for the first time since 2015.
The Sandites rallied from a 13-3 halftime deficit and led 17-13 late in the third quarter, but key mistakes caught up with them, and fourth-ranked Deer Creek survived the momentum swing to score on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Brett Pense to Berkley Dalton with 1:54 remaining.
“Our guys, they give relentless effort every play,” said Deer Creek Antlers head coach Wade Standley. “Those guys continue to fight, continue to go. We survived the momentum swing, and we found a way to win at the end. I’m so proud of these young men.”
Sandites quarterback Ty Pennington scored on a 1-yard run to open the half, then Gabe Brown had a strip-sack against Pense deep in Sandite territory to set up a nine-play, 85-yard drive where Pennington scored again, this time on a 2-yard run.
The Sandites forced a punt; then Jacob Blevins picked off a deflected Pense pass to set up a short field.
Then the wheels came off the wagon.
At third-and-goal from the Deer Creek 4-yard line, a bad snap pushed the Sandites back to the 17, and Jonathan Daniels’ field goal was blocked.
Deer Creek scored the go-ahead touchdown on the ensuing drive, and the Sandites’ last-hope possession was derailed by two more bad snaps, and Brittain Brewer sacked Pennington on a fourth down to seal the victory.
“It’s disappointing that we couldn’t finish,” Klinck said. “Hats off to Deer Creek. Man, that’s a heck of a football team. I wish we could have found a way to get it done at the end there.”
Penalties against Sand Springs led to much of Deer Creek’s first-half success, as the Sandites gave up five first downs on 75 penalty yards. They also struggled to finish offensively, despite outgaining the Antlers in yardage.
Daniels’ 20-yard field goal was Sand Springs’ only score of the first half. Meanwhile, the Antlers scored on a 5-yard run by Pense and field goals of 39 and 35 yards by Grayson Miller.
Pennington’s storied career ended with a 21-of-36 passing performance for 280 yards, as well as 57 yards on the ground. Pennington rewrote the record books for the Sandites during a three-year career as the starter.
“He’s an unbelievable football player, and he’s going to be sorely missed,” Klinck said. “I’m going to miss just seeing him in the facility, more than all the great plays that he made.
“And that goes for all these seniors. They’ve done such an unbelievable job. I’m just upset that we couldn’t get it done for them.
“There’s so many guys that I’m going to remember. The first time I got here, I just asked them to trust me and to buy into what we’re selling, and they’ve done an unbelievable job. They’ve set a foundation here.
“People didn’t think a lot of this team going into the season, except us. We’re just a score away from making the state finals. So, unbelievable job by those seniors and everybody else.“
DEER CREEK 20, SAND SPRINGS 17
SS 3 0 14 0 — 17
DC 0 13 0 7 — 20
SS—Jonathan Daniels 20 field goal
DC—Brett Pense 5 run (Grayson Miller kick)
DC—Miller 39 field goal
DC—Miller 35 field goal
SS—Ty Pennington 1 run (Daniels kick)
SS—Pennington 1 run (Daniels kick)
DC—Berkley Dalton 11 pass from Brett Pense (Miller kick)
First downs — Sand Springs 21, Deer Creek 18. Rushing att.-yds. — Sand Springs 43-77, Deer Creek 27-96. Passing yards — Sand Springs 280, Deer Creek 173. Passing C-A-I — Sand Springs 21-36-0, Deer Creek 12-31-1. Fumbles no.-lost — Sand Springs 0-0, Deer Creek 1-1. Penalty no.-yds. — Sand Springs 12-112, Deer Creek 4-30. Team records — Sand Springs 8-4, Deer Creek 10-2.
Eight days after the state Health Department stopped reporting COVID-19 data at the city level — and after pushback from journalists and municipal officials, including Sand Springs City Manager Mike Carter — the department has done an about-face.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health announced Thursday that it was releasing updates to the state’s COVID-19 data reporting, including community-level data on cases and vaccinations that are now more-easily accessible.
“We recognize the importance of on-going community-level data for Oklahomans to make decisions,” interim Health Commissioner Keith Reed said in a news release.
“As our response has evolved OSDH has worked through updating COVID-19 reporting tools to continue to provide accessible data.
“After receiving additional feedback, we have further updated our reporting tools to ensure information is available to Oklahomans as needed,” he said.
“Our number one priority is to protect the health and safety of Oklahomans and empowering individuals to make informed decisions about their personal health.”
That turnabout has made Carter very happy.
“I thank the OSDH commissioner and staff for their consideration in giving the public access to this important data,” he said.
“I also think the new format works well, and I know many people across the state appreciate their hard work to keep us safe during this pandemic.”
For more than a year prior to the data cutoff, Carter had compiled a regular COVID-19 report based on local data that he shared with community leaders and government officials in other Tulsa suburbs.
That data is far more valuable to officials and residents alike in smaller communities, who can’t really extrapolate from countywide data how things are faring in their own communities.
Carter has said his reports have helped guide broader municipal policies as well as individual decisions, even leading some residents to change their minds and get vaccinated against the virus.
He said the state’s reversal “allows us to communicate the current status of COVID in Sand Springs. That helps us protect people at special events and empower them to make good decisions in regard to protective measures such as getting vaccinated.”
State governments aren’t frequently known for changing their minds, but the decision to do so this time gives Carter faith that Oklahoma officials care.
“It shows me that they are seeking to do the right thing,” he said. “They showed that they care about empowering the citizens in a way to help end the pandemic.”
Carter said he knew of no workaround to get the data that the state briefly withheld.
“I do not think there would be any way around it, so I am appreciative that they are helping keep our citizens informed,” he said. “Knowledge is power.”
On Friday, a day after the state announced its reconsideration, Carter once again informed his community of its current status with regard to COVID-19.
“The OSDH has started to release city specific data again, and I am appreciative of their efforts,” he wrote in an email to municipal leaders and others.
The data — covering the expanded period of Nov. 3-19 — show an increase of 340 active cases and 41 additional deaths across the Tulsa metro area.
In Sand Springs, deaths increased by three, bringing the city’s COVID death toll to 107.
The city’s current infection count is 86, an increase of 20 over the previous reporting period, the data show.
Deaths increased during the reporting period in all but three of the 10 Tulsa metro-area municipalities. Infections also increased in seven of the 10 municipalities, the data show.
Sand Springs’ total infection rate — the number of residents who have had COVID at any point in the pandemic — is 26.52%, or more than one in every four people, which ranks third in the metropolitan area behind Collinsville, at 53.71%, and Skiatook, at 32.97%.
But Sand Springs leads the way in the percentage of residents infected with COVID-19 who have died from it — more than 2%.
More than one-half of 1% of all Sand Springs residents have died from COVID since the pandemic began, the data show.
Meanwhile, Carter reported that Hillcrest Healthcare System recorded 34 COVID-related hospitalizations, with 31 of those patients being unvaccinated.
Hillcrest also reported 11 cases requiring ICU care, with all 11of those patients being unvaccinated.
The reconfigured state Health Department data can be found here: oklahoma.gov/covid19/community-data.html.