Alex Hale was a key part of OSU’s 29-21 win over Kansas State on Friday. Hale made five field goals, and accounted for 17 points. Not bad, considering football wasn’t on his radar while becoming a wakeskating world champion as a boy in Australia.
STILLWATER — The Oklahoma State Cowboys tied a decade-old school record on Friday night. It’s probably what will frustrate them most when analyzing their 29-21 win against Kansas State.
Alex Hale made five field goals, tying a record most recently matched by Quinn Sharp in 2012. He hit from 25, 31, 34, 47 and 55. A blocked 21-yarder keeps the record tied.
Hale, who ensured OSU’s red zone struggles were a footnote, not a death sentence, proves an unlikely hero. Kicking was not his first love. Or his second. Or his third. He was merely a watersport champion in Australia who needed a scholarship.
He grew up playing soccer in Point Frederick, NSW Australia. His dad, Glenn, was a semi-professional rugby player.
“Every now and then, after soccer practice, we’d go and do some rugby field goals,” Hale said. “Kind of mess around with that.”
He stopped kicking entirely when he decided to take up wakeskating at 15. Think skateboard tricks on the water. Hale could watch Tony Hawk for inspiration, or snowboarders taking on the Olympic halfpipe. It all translated.
He wanted to be great, and it took everything. After he hit the pinnacle and became the Junior (Under 19) Wakeskate World Champion, he had a tough conversation with his parents.
“I was all in on (wakeskating),” Hale said. “Then had a conversation with my parents talking about looking for a sport to do and get an education at the same time. College sports, obviously. This is one of the options we thought of.”
Hale said postgame that he lost track of how many times he trotted onto the field to boot a kick through the uprights.
“It feels good to get out here and kick a bunch,” Hale said. “Just doing my job. Whenever the offense calls for a kick, go out there and kick.”
OSU coach Mike Gundy doesn’t want Hale to have a repeat performance. Hale attempted six field goals, which OSU hadn’t done since Cary Blanchard did against Northern Iowa in 1990
“We have to figure out a way to quit kicking field goals,” coach Mike Gundy said. “We’ve got to punch in down there. Come up with some concepts that give us a better chance. Kicking five field goals, you’d think you’re probably lucky to win.”