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  Pioneer News

Providing concurrent enrollment opportunities has become a proud tradition at Western Oklahoma State College. A tradition that numerous students have taken advantage of over the past three decades. Not only does this program provide students the ability to finish high school with many college credit hours collected, but it has also saved students thousands of dollars.

Western women's basketball team, along with Coached, hosted its first annual JH & HS camp on campus, Monday, July 18th. This camp was designed for the athletes to learn skills to improve their basketball game, provide information on all things basketball recruiting, and catch a glimpse of life as a Pioneer.

ALTUS, OK. –On Friday, May 13, 2022, Trace Thomason graduated from Western Oklahoma State College as a 4.0 honor graduate, earning his associate’s in business administration, two days prior to graduating as the valedictorian of his senior class at Indiahoma High School. While this accomplishment came after a busy two years, the Thomason family is thankful for the opportunity high school concurrent enrollment provides.  

The Western Shooting Sports Team finished in 1st place at Operation Round Up (ORU), Southwest Rural Electrics's charitable foundation. All proceeds from the event will be given back to SWRE members and communities in need!

Hunter Pence, a sophomore at Western, finished as the 1st place individual!

D’Lese Travis (Weatherford) appeared before the Senate Education Committee for appointment to the Western Oklahoma State College Board of Regents on May 3, 2022. She will succeed Clint Abernathy and will serve a seven–year term, ending March 24, 2029. “I am honored to serve Western Oklahoma State College on the board of regents. I strongly believe in the college’s mission and the inspiring opportunities offered the students. The spirit and culture of the board and leadership are a great asset to the college and I am truly looking forward to joining this great group of leaders,” said Ms. Travis.

Crystal Garcia, a graduate of Western Oklahoma State College, recently received the Outstanding Student/Graduate Award from the Oklahoma Career and Technical Education Equity Council.

The WOSC Rodeo Team held their first annual Rodeo Banquet Tuesday, May 10th. 

ALTUS, Okla. – Western Oklahoma State College student Claire Rose, recently attended the 2022 Nigh Leadership Academy as a Nigh Scholar at the University of Central Oklahoma.

Rose is a sophomore at Western from Sentinel, Oklahoma. Not only is Claire the student body president, but she is also involved in the Science Club, MRBC College Ministries, Phi Theta Kappa President, and is a Western Navigator. She plans to transfer to Oklahoma State University to pursue a Biochemistry and Molecular Biology degree and then complete the pre-requisites for medical school.

“I am honored to have represented Western at the Nigh Leadership Academy. Former Governor George and Donna Nigh were gracious and inspiring with their time and resources as our hosts. I appreciate the opportunity to learn and share ideas with other leaders about what is happening on campuses around the state,” said Rose.

Former Gov. Frank Keating established the George and Donna Nigh Public Service Scholarship in 1999. The purpose is to allow each of the two and four year higher educational institutions to select and honor one student each year as a Nigh Scholar. Each student selected receive a one-time $1,000 Leadership Scholarship.

The academy provides students with opportunities to increase both leadership and personal skills. The students heard from many powerful speakers and visited both the Oklahoma Memorial and the First Americans Museum. The Nigh Leadership Academy is supported by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, which contracts with the Nigh Academy for implementation. During the history of the academy, more than 600 students have been awarded the title of Nigh Scholar.

ALTUS, Okla. – Western Oklahoma State College (WOSC) is excited to announce the hiring of Coach Rick Carpenter as the new Head Coach of the men and women’s Cross Country coach, a new program that will begin in fall 2022.

Athletic Director, Matt Cartwright announced that Rick Carpenter, a two-time all-American in the indoor mile and the 1975 cross country captain and 1976 track captain at the University of Oklahoma, has agreed to accept the head coach position. “We are excited to bring a new program to Western Oklahoma State College.  Cross Country will give another opportunity for student-athletes to compete at a high level and gain a high-level education at the same time. Western is excited for the future of this program and for the student-athletes that are building an excellent running program in southwest Oklahoma. We couldn't be more excited to have Rick on board leading the program in that direction,” said Cartwright.

Carpenter, 67, who is retired and living in Colorado, recently served as the editor and publisher of The Altus Times and the Frederick Press-Leader. He served as an assistant cross country and assistant swimming coach in Moore, Oklahoma while teaching English at Highland East Middle School in 1979. While Highland East, he was also training for the 1980 Olympics. At that time, amateur athletes could not accept money for coaching a sport in which he or she competed. Cross country running is not an Olympic event.

When his journalism career took off, Carpenter abandoned his formal coaching to focus on his journalism profession. However he continued to make time to continue to advise a number of high school and college runners. He said he's been a student of different training methods and has tried most of them before settling on his current approach.

While competing, Carpenter set individual school records at OU in the indoor mile and the 3,000-meter steeplechase while also joining teammates to set school records in the indoor distance medley and the outdoor 4-mile relay. His best time in the mile was 4:05 his junior year at OU before an injury kept him from being competitive his senior year.

Carpenter wants to build a program with local athletes. He said southwest Oklahoma has talented runners who he hopes to recruit and develop into nationally-ranked competitors. He attended Altus High School’s Bob Hart Invitational and said he saw runners with as much or more talent than he had and could develop into top runners.

In 1972, Carpenter was the only Oklahoma high school runner to qualify for the National Junior Olympics. Twelve athletes from across the country qualified in each event. He finished fifth in the mile in 4:18.3. He also finished second in state in the 2-mile run in 9:35 that year, competing for US Grant High School in Oklahoma City.

Carpenter attended Butler County Community College in Kansas his freshman year where he won the regional cross country meet and finished fourth in the 2-mile in 9:15 and fifth in the mile in 4:16 at the NJCAA National Indoor Championships in 1973. He transferred to OU his sophomore year.

“I understand the value of a junior college education,” he said. “They enrolled me in remedial English and reading classes, and a journalism professor took me under his wings and convinced me I could become a writer, although my first love was photography,” said Carpenter. He also said becoming an avid reader transformed his life and helped him become an award-winning journalist.

Carpenter had a summer internship as a photographer with Sports Illustrated and Time magazines in 1975 where he traveled with legendary photographer Rich Clarkson for whom ESPN has produced a documentary. He later was a personal writer in Washington, D.C. for US Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming, then went on to own newspapers in Colorado and Oklahoma.

Most recently, Carpenter and OU classmate Larry Miller were equal partners in Graystone Media Group, LTD, which owned newspapers in Durant, Frederick, Altus and Mangum. They sold the company last year.

Carpenter encourages local athletes to contact him about competing for WOSC. He said building a solid base during summer months produces the kind of competitors he hopes to develop. For more information about the program email coach at


Western Oklahoma State College is the oldest original municipal two-year college still in existence in the State of Oklahoma. Its mission is to provide high-quality education, support student success, and empower individuals to become productive members of local, regional and global communities. Western offers high-quality associate degrees and certificates to students in its five-county service area and beyond. For more information, visit

The Western Oklahoma State College Alumni Association announces Larry K. Duffy as the 2022 Hall of Fame Inductee.
The Alumni Association Hall of Fame, established in 1996, recognizes and honors Altus Junior College and Western Oklahoma State College alumni who, through leadership, character, and hard work, have made exceptional contributions in their field, in their community, and at Western Oklahoma State College.
Mr. Duffy has spent 44+ years on Western’s campus and there is not a department or an office that he has not supported over those many years. Please help us honor Mr. Duffy by attending the Hall of Fame banquet on Friday, April 22, 2022, in the Pioneer Heritage Center at Western Oklahoma State College.
Seating is limited and all tickets must be pre-purchased. The cost of a ticker is $30 per person. Entertainment will be provided by The Mid-America String Quartet.
Please call 580.477.7706 or visit for tickets.

Being a Lifetime Member of the Western Oklahoma State College Alumni Association has become a tradition for the Fixico family.  Justice Fixico tells us that his parents and his brother all attended Western and both of his parents joined the Alumni Association in 2012.  Justice felt that, for him, becoming lifetime alumni just made sense.

Each year the top 15 steer ropers in the nation compete at the National Finals Steer Roping. Western’s rodeo coach Jess Tierney entered the 2021 finals in the #6 spot.
He placed in 7 of the 10 rounds and tied down 9 of his 10 steers to secure the third spot in the average. An outstanding performance at the NFSR led to an overall 3rd place finish. Congratulations Coach Tierney. Your Pioneer family is proud of you!

Pioneers Zack Woods and Eli Barger are Chisholm Trail RAM Prairie Circuit Finals Champions. Woods (Heeling) and Barger (Calf Roping) will be heading to Kissimmee, Florida for the finals...

Western Oklahoma State College (WOSC) and the City of Altus were recognized with a Business Partnership Excellence Award by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.  The award program annually honors outstanding partnerships that lead to significant...