It wasn’t the last time Osterbind stopped playing a sport, but it was the last time she intentionally gave up on one.
“You can’t be a gymnast at 6-foot-1,” Osterbind joked.
Osterbind has developed a reputation as someone who can shine in nearly any sport (except gymnastics), but it is basketball and soccer in which the high school senior has created a world of her own.
She made all-state in both sports, averaging 13.9 points and 7.2 rebounds a game in basketball as a senior and leading Jacksonville to a Class 4A state title as a junior. In soccer, she has led Jacksonville to the state quarterfinals in each of the past two seasons.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen an athlete like her as far as being able to run, jump and her footwork,” Jacksonville girls basketball coach Ryan Chambless said. “It just almost seems that sometimes when you try to teach her something, that you feel like there’s nothing that she can’t master.
“She’s the type of person that if she decided to play softball, then she’d be great at it. She’s going to find a way to be successful no matter what she does.”
And yet, softball was one of the two sports Osterbind gave up to continue playing soccer.
When she was playing varsity soccer for Jacksonville High coach Sam Cain in the seventh grade, Osterbind faced time conflicts between soccer and softball. She chose soccer.
Jacksonville volleyball coach David Clark also started asking Osterbind to play for him in the seventh grade. She finally tried out her senior year, but soon found out she couldn’t play because the schedule interfered with club soccer.
“I was going to play and made the team and was so excited,” Osterbind said. “Club would have a game on the weekend and volleyball would have a tournament, and I’m just not going to half-way do a team. I was disappointed because they had such a good season.”
But even with just sticking with two sports at Jacksonville, Osterbind has made her name known. She credits Chambless and Cain for her improvements, but the coaches say between her athleticism and work ethic, Osterbind is the reason she’s successful.
“She’s just a step above most people because of her intensity and her desire,” Cain said. “She does a lot to make her teammates to look better. The whole time she’s more concerned about making her teammates look better than herself.”
Osterbind has 16 goals and seven assists through 14 games this season and already has signed to play next year at UAB.
“I’ve always wanted to play a sport in college, but I didn’t really know which one,” Osterbind said. “I thought about basketball, but soccer was my first love. Plus, I said if I can’t dunk then I’m not playing college basketball. I was close and can get a tennis ball, but can’t do it.”
But before she can focus on her future in college, Osterbind has played a large role in getting Jacksonville’s soccer team to a No. 5 state ranking. With only one regular-season match left before sub-state starts at the end of the month, Osterbind still has a chance to cash in another big postseason for her team.
Sports Writer Brandon Miller: 256-235-3575. On Twitter @bmiller_star.