All-time great running back Isaac Ostrom to be inducted into Nevada Union Athletics Hall of Fame
Editor’s note: This is the 13th installment of a 17-part series chronicling the 2018 Nevada Union Athletics Hall of Fame inductees. Check back to The Union sports pages each day for a new profile on a Nevada Union legend.
Whether he was on the football field or the track – Isaac Ostrom was electric.
With speed, quickness and strength, he was a skilled running back who could do it all on the gridiron. If he wasn’t making defenders look silly or slow, he was plowing right through them.
“Isaac had amazing quickness, vision and speed,” said Dave Humphers, who coached Ostrom on the football team. “There were times there would be a defender in the hole and he would make a side step and make them miss, but he could also lower his shoulder and have the power to run him over.
“He’s got to be one of the best backs in NU history.”
As a star on the track team, his superior athletic ability led to school records and league championships in multiple events.
As a student-athlete at Nevada Union, Ostrom was a record breaker and a champion, and for his efforts the 1995 graduate is being inducted into the Nevada Union Athletics Hall of Fame Saturday.
Ostrom is one of the most successful running backs in NU history, helping the Miners to back-to-back Sac-Joaquin Section championships (1993, 1994).
As a junior in 1993, Ostrom rushed for 1,085 yards and 18 touchdowns while sharing the backfield with fellow 2018 Nevada Union Athletic Hall of Fame inductees A.J. Kunkle and Matt Beck.
Ostrom followed his strong junior season with a historic senior season, rushing for then records in yards for a season (1,731) and touchdowns for a season (21). That year he was named the Capital Athletic League Offensive MVP, was named to the All-Metro Second Team and won the Jim Brown Award, which goes to NU’s football MVP.
Facing an undefeated Napa team in the section championship that year, Ostrom rushed for more than 100 yards and scored two touchdowns to lead the Miners to a 28-0 victory.
Ostrom’s 2,816 rush yards are second all-time at Nevada Union. His 39 career rushing touchdowns rank third in Miners history.
With all the wins, yards, touchdowns and championship moments that came throughout his impressive career, Ostrom said the most memorable part of high school football was the Miners’ rivalry with the Grant Pacers, who they played annually and also beat in the playoffs on their way to their second section title.
“At the time, the two major powerhouses in the section were us and Grant,” said Ostrom, noting that he got chills just thinking about those games. “We would just duke it out on the field. It was just a fight from the first snap. And, we never had a game that was decided by much more than a few points. We just went at it… Even in the section championship games, the intensity level wasn’t the same as when we played Grant.”
The lessons learned from those games against Grant, and football in general, still resonate with Ostrom today.
“Football definitely gave me the ability to face difficult situations,” he said. “Sometimes you can’t really see a way how you’ll do it, like being over-matched when we played Grant. They were bigger, faster, they were playing at home, they were ranked No. 1. I learned that even facing all that stuff, if you just go for it, just put your head down and go for it, there’s a chance you’ll win. I think that’s what I took from those games. Getting into difficult situations, and knowing there was a way if you really wanted it bad enough.”
As a track athlete, Ostrom was a four-year member of the varsity team, helping them win league titles all four years. He was also the league champion in the long jump and a member of NU’s 4×400 relay team that claimed a league championship.
When Ostrom looks back on his time at Nevada Union, he said his fondest memories are that of the friendships he had with his teammates and the camaraderie that enveloped both the football and track teams.
“Looking back on it now, I value the friendships I had, and the camaraderie of the teams,” he said. “The playfulness and feeling of being free. Those friendships are what I really value. We were just kids having fun.”
After his time at Nevada Union, Ostrom was recruited to play football at UC Davis. After redshirting his freshman year with the Aggies, he opted to play at Sierra College.
Being the son of a coach (Sig Ostrom) and grandson of a coach (Homer “Buzz” Ostrom), Isaac also spent some time coaching football. He headed the Roseville freshman team from 2011-2015 before stepping away to focus on his family and business.
He currently owns and operates O.Tile, a kitchen and bath design and construction company in Rocklin.
Ostrom is happily married to his wife of 19 years, Marisa. They have four children, Annelise, Cali, Autumn and Buzzy.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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