Ortmeier Making the Most of MCC Days

Editor’s Note: Manhattan Christian College’s men’s and women’s basketball teams will be in action at home on Friday against Ozark Christian College with games starting at 5:30 and 7:30, and Saturday against Randall University with games at 2:00 and 4:00. All the action is free to the public and will be at the Howie’s Activity Center on the MCC campus.

 

By Mark Janssen

 

DeShawn Ortmeier admits he never thought he’d hear the phrase:

“Starting at guard for Manhattan Christian College … from Omaha, Nebraska, and wearing No. 11 …  DeeeeShawwwn Ortmeier.”

“It is sort of a crazy story,” admitted the 5-foot-11 junior guard.

Crazy because Ortmeier never played high school basketball; crazy because he was primarily a manager for the Thunder during his freshman and sophomore years; crazy because, yes, he’s starting today.

“I played as an 8th grader, but went to a high school (Omaha Central) that won state titles almost every year and I basically was too intimidated to even go out,” Ortmeier reflected. “When I got here (MCC), I knew I wanted to be part of a team, but didn’t figure I was good enough to play.”

So what Ortmeier did was to volunteer to be the team manager, which meant washing game uniforms, making sure the shorts and jerseys matched for each MCC player, and being a general clean-up man.

While not playing, Ortmeier said, “What made it worth it was being part of a team. You were required to be at every practice, so you learned discipline and responsibility in how it relates to life. Things aren’t always just like you want them to be, and you don’t win all the games, but you make the best of your time and learn how to bounce back and keep pushing through to get the results you want.”

Ortmeier did play in one game as a freshman, and suited up for games during second semester of last year. This year he decided to retire as team manager and become a regular roster player.

As he expected, those first semester games were mainly spent on the bench cheering his buddies on. But through squad attrition at semester break, today Ortmeier finds himself as a starter.

Not a star, by any means, but still a starter. “Pretty cool,” he admits, but adds that he understands his limitations.

“I’m just being honest, I’m not the best offensive player, but I can work hard on defense to try to make my teammates better. I know I’ll never be the best player, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be the hardest worker,” he said. “At one time my contribution was to get the uniforms ready to wear. Today it’s trying to lead by example and being as good of a practice player as I can be.”

Hoops is just a fraction of the growth Ortmeier has enjoyed at Manhattan Christian College where he is a Social Justice and Intracultural major.

Out of a high school of 2,700 students, Ortmeier says, “It was so big I didn’t even try to get to know kids. My only friends were my friends from Stonebridge Christian Church.”

Once arriving at MCC with its enrollment of 300, he said, “I’m not a very out-going person, but when I came here I made it a point to meet people and make friends.”

One of those early friends that he made also played basketball. While he wears No. 11, she … yes, she … wears No. 1 with the Lady Thunder.

That’s Katherine Wenger … soon to be Katherine Ortmeier.

“She’s the first girlfriend I ever had, but I knew when we started dating as freshmen that she was the one,” said Ortmeier, who asked for Katherine’s hand in marriage on December 17. “She is just the perfect person for me in every way. I’m so lucky.”

What impressed Wenger the most was how “… he loves through his actions. He truly reveals who Jesus is to me. I love how he’s similar to me in so many ways, yet how he’s MUCH different as well.”

Laughing she explained, “I basically am always talking, while he’s content to say very few words. We balance each other out well.”

Oh, as to which one is the better guard on the court?

Without hesitation, Ortmeier said, “She is!”

To that, Wenger, a 1,000-point career scorer for the Lady Thunder, admits, “If there’s a milkshake on the line where the loser has to buy, I make sure I win. When a milkshake is the reward for winning, I’ll do anything to win.”

With a June 9 wedding approaching, the two will soon share not only their anniversary date, but continue to share the same birthdate of Oct. 28, 1996.

Ortmeier says he will retire from basketball after this year to raise money to support his wife, who will play out her senior year.

Upon graduation in 2019, the couple has a joint mission statement to be missionaries.

With Ortmeier being half-Kenyan, his goal is to return to that African country where his father, Hannington, is an Uber Driver and labors in his sugar cane fields.

“I’ve been to Nairobi where he lives twice and I’d like to continue to get to know the other side of me,” said Ortmeier of his heritage. “I know there are issues in the States that need fixed, but for me at this time, I’d like to help outside the country, and in this case, where my family is from.”

This dream is in harmony with Wenger, who is a Social Justice and Counseling major at MCC.

“I definitely see us in the mission field,” she said of their future. “We both have a deep desire to love people and serve the Lord wherever He places us. I think one of our dreams is to open an orphanage in Kenya.”

Without question, the little kids will be sure to have access to a basketball and a couple of hoops.

MCC Scoreboard

1/22/2021 | Mens Basketball vs. Emmaus Bible College | W, 86-74 
1/21/2021 | Mens Basketball Faith Baptist Bible College | W, 92-66 
1/19/2021 | Womens Basketball at Calvary University | W, 63-58 
1/16/2021 | Womens Basketball at Central Christian College of the Bible | L, 64-60 
1/13/2021 | Womens Basketball vs. Southwestern Adventist | W, 76-45