Ostermiller Brings Hard Work, Passion To Lady Trappers
A familiar face within the Park County volleyball scene will take the court next fall for the Northwest College Trappers.
Natalie Ostermiller, a member of this year’s Powell High School squad that earned a state tournament berth, signed a letter of intent with NWC last week. Lady Trappers head coach Bethany Conde said the senior will be a welcome addition to the NWC family.
“I think Natalie [Ostermiller] will bring a lot to the team,” Conde said. “She’s very passionate about Trapper volleyball — her family has been involved in the athletic department, especially volleyball, for many years. She knows what it takes to be a good college athlete, so it should be an easy transition.”
Ostermiller began playing volleyball in the fourth grade on the AAU traveling team, and never looked back. It’s the only sport she plays, so her focus has always been on the game, and she enjoys the team aspect of it the most.
“I loved it, so I didn’t want to stop playing after that,” Ostermiller said. “So I kept playing into middle school and high school. I like knowing that it’s not just on one person — everyone has to work together to make the play happen.”
This season’s Lady Panthers squad was loaded with returning talent; the team was made up primarily of seniors, most of whom had grown up playing together. Powell won 21 games and was the top team in the 3A Northwest quadrant, earning a trip to the 3A state tournament. It was the first appearance at state for all of the seniors, and a memory Ostermiller will cherish.
“Just stepping out on the court at state for the first time was special,” she said. “Knowing how hard we worked to make it there.”
Ostermiller’s next step in her volleyball career will be at NWC, with a program she has more than a passing familiarity with. Her family has been a host family for the NWC volleyball program since her freshman year, beginning with former NWC standouts Reilley Baty and Alye Wagner, both of whom went on to play at four-year schools. The Ostermillers have hosted a number of players since then, with each becoming a member of the family.
“We liked those girls [Baty and Wagner] so much that we kept doing it,” Ostermiller said. “After that, we just kind of adopted the whole team, really. Alye and Reilley surprised me at state volleyball this year, which is one of my favorite memories.”
As a player, Conde said Ostermiller will bring a positive attitude, as well as the ability to play a couple of different positions. And having the talent pool to be able to recruit locally is always a plus.
“It’s always great to get local kids, and there were a couple of her [Ostermiller’s] teammates that we were looking at as well as her,” she said. “But I’ve been talking with her since I took over the team, and she decided early on this was what she wanted to do. She feels very connected to the program already, which is awesome.”
Ostermiller is looking forward to being around a new set of teammates next season, as well as playing for a new coach.
“I’ve been working with [former head coach Shaun] Pohlman and Coach Conde every summer since my eighth-grade year,” Ostermiller explained. “I’ve gotten to bond with a lot of the players there, and it just felt right for me to go there.”
Asked what she’d tell other volleyball players from around the state who might be considering NWC as an option, Ostermiller said the program isn’t just focused on winning and losing.
“[NWC] always makes everyone feel welcome,” she said. “They just want to form you into better people, not just better players.”