ONE TOUGH GENERAL: A match made in Columbia blue, gold

Home|Sports|Local Sports|ONE TOUGH GENERAL: A match made in Columbia blue, gold

SHERIDAN — Sheridan College women’s soccer head coach Mallory Hammer and Hannah Ozmon each experienced vastly different feelings in the moments following their first encounter. Where Hammer walked away uncertain about how the initial meeting went, Ozmon walked away floored.

“I was just like, ‘I love Mallory, and I don’t even know her,’” Ozmon said.

“I didn’t know how to read her,” Hammer said.

Upon further review, it turns out Hammer and Ozmon share a unique combination of personality traits that make them quite compatible. That has translated onto the pitch where the duo have combined to lead the Lady Generals to new heights.

Ozmon grew up in Boise, Idaho, but midway through high school she moved to Thermopolis. Ozmon went from a school of 3,000 kids to a town with 3,000 people.

“It was a huge adjustment,” Ozmon said. “But it was good overall. I grew up with the same people since I was 5 years old, so the biggest adjustment was making new friends.”

The then-high school junior remained luke warm about her new home. She enjoyed the sense of community, but didn’t care for the small-town gossip.

Having to drive more than 30 miles to play soccer in Worland represented another big adjustment for Ozmon.

In Boise, she drove five minutes to get to high school and five minutes to get to soccer practice, and in rural central Wyoming, she spent nearly an hour-and-a-half in a car each and every day to participate in soccer.

When it came to a college choice, Ozmon wanted to get out of Wyoming. She wanted to explore a new place and verbally committed to walk-on at Black Hills State University — that is until she met Hammer.

SC’s women’s soccer coach drove all the way to Colorado with the sole goal of persuading Ozmon to consider playing for the Lady Generals.

“I just told her that I loved to have her here, and that I’d liked to keep Wyoming talent in Wyoming,” Hammer said. “Thankfully, she decided to change her mind, and she came here, and we’re very blessed to have her.”

Ozmon tied for the team-high in goals last season with 11. She’s well on her way to surpassing that total as Sheridan’s striker has already netted three this season — all three coming in a blowout win over Northwest College.

Ozmon is currently battling a recurring injury where from time to time her hip will dislocate. In the summers, Ozmon fights wildfires and carrying a heavy pack on rough terrain likely contributed to the hip problems.

But that didn’t stop Ozmon from enjoying her summer employment.

“I make quite a bit of money and meet really awesome people,” Ozmon said. “I think I went two and half weeks without showering, which is kind of gross. I sleep on the dirt all the time. It’s a lot of fun. It’s definitely a mental grind sometimes, and I just want to quit. But I literally get paid to workout for two hours a day, so that’s fun. I like that.”

The hip problems haven’t stopped Sheridan’s most lethal scorer from suiting up and playing. Ozmon has overcome multiple injuries in her junior college soccer career.

In just her third game as a collegiate athlete, Ozmon broke her nose against Southern Nevada, before reentering the game and logging a hat trick.

Less than a month later, Ozmon rebroke her nose and got fitted for a protective mask, but elected not to to wear it as it restricts her vision.

“She’s an unbelievably tough kid,” Hammer said.

Ozmon’s toughness is never in question and her importance to the Lady Generals can’t be overstated. She nets goals, opens things up offensively for others and has grown into a leader on and off the pitch.

Hammer didn’t know at the time if her recruitment trip to Colorado would work or simply stand as a waste of gas. Now, the SC women’s soccer coach knows it was all worth it.

“We’ve had a great working relationship,” Hammer said. “It has been fun.”

By |Sep. 14, 2018|

About the Author:

Bud Denega joined The Sheridan Press in November 2017 as the primary sports reporter. He is a native of Cleveland, Ohio, and graduated from the University of Wyoming. Prior to working in Sheridan, Bud spent time as a sports reporter for the Minot Daily News in Minot, North Dakota, before being a sports reporter for the Laredo Morning Times in Laredo, Texas. Email Bud at: bud.denega@thesheridanpress.com

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