Former Wildcat to join Sooners baseball team

West Ranch's Garret Monheim (11) gets a base hit in the sixth inning against Yucaipa at West Ranch on Tuesday. Dan Watson/ The Signal

When Garret Monheim went to the University of Oklahoma’s student orientation, he entered as a student, but he left as a student-athlete.

During orientation, he received a text message from the Sooners baseball coach.

“The coach texted me and had me come over to the field and tour the facilities and everything,” said Monheim, who played prep baseball at West Ranch. “And then a couple weeks after that he told me I was on the roster and I was a preferred walk-on.”

Monheim really wanted to go to the University of Oklahoma. Whether he went as a student or a student-athlete, that’s where he wanted to be.

After going through the recruiting process and not receiving the looks he wanted, Monheim decided to join the Sooners as a student.

“I have a bunch of family friends that go to Oklahoma and I had always wanted to go to a big school,” Monheim said. “When I toured the campus, I fell in love with it and I thought it was a place I could call home.”

While Monheim had decided to attend Oklahoma as a student, his coaches from West Ranch weren’t finished trying to get him on the baseball team. Casey Burrill was finally able to use some connections to get a call through to the Sooners baseball coaches.

From there, the head coach reached out to Monheim and he sent in film from his stellar career at West Ranch.

Monheim finished his senior season with a .394 batting average, going 26-for-66 at the plate with 26 RBIs and three home runs. He stole seven bases and was also part of one of the best outfields the Wildcats program has seen, playing alongside Jovan and Ryan Camacho.

After his successful senior season, he was named All-Foothill League First Team. Still, he was only receiving attention from smaller schools around Southern California. At least until July 30, when Oklahoma reached out to him.

As a preferred walk-on, Monheim has a spot on the roster, but cannot receive a scholarship for at least the first year. However, he has the chance to earn a scholarship going into his second season with the Sooners according to NCAA rules.

Now that he’s on the team, gaining a spot in the starting lineup is Monheim’s next goal.

“It does give me a chip on my shoulder because I do have to work harder and push myself harder than the kids who are on scholarship,” he said. “I feel like I can go out there and improve myself and potentially try to earn a spot out there.”

Monheim plans to major in business finance and will play outfield at the college level. He leaves for Oklahoma on Aug. 14 and moves in a day later.

“I just want to show people that they passed up on me and I’m going to go do bigger and better things and hopefully show them that I deserve to be there,” Monheim said.

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