The Oklahoman’s Super 30: Cancer survivor Owen Ostroski of Tulsa Holland Hall has bright future
TULSA — Owen Ostroski’s life began with a scare.
When Ostroski was 7 months old, his parents received dreadful news.
They learned their son had kidney cancer.
An unexpected blow in most cases, this situation was different. Before Ostroski was born, doctors learned he had Beckwith–Wiedemann syndrome, an overgrowth disorder that Ostroski’s father was diagnosed with as a kid and increases the risk for childhood cancer.
Fortunately, doctors were prepared. Shortly after the cancer diagnosis, Ostroski underwent successful treatments to shrink the tumor.
“They were able to shrink it enough to where they only had to remove the top one-third of my kidney instead of the whole thing,” Ostroski said.
Ostroski has been cancer-free since he was a toddler, and the health problems he endured don’t affect him.
Now, he is a 6-foot-2, 245-pound football star at Tulsa Holland Hall and ranks No. 21 on The Oklahoman’s Super 30 list of the state’s top 2021 recruits.
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Ostroski has been a starter since his freshman season for Tulsa Holland Hall, which jumps from Class 2A to 3A after finishing 9-3 last season.
Ostroski’s aggressive playing style stands out, but his versatility is also noteworthy. During his first three years in high school, he lined up as an offensive and defensive lineman, linebacker, fullback and tight end.
His ability to impact games in multiple ways is one reason colleges around the country, such as Army, Navy, Hawaii and Princeton, have extended offers.
“He can probably play anything but quarterback and corner,” Tulsa Holland Hall coach Tag Gross said of Ostroski, who is being recruited mainly as a defensive lineman. “I’d just describe him as a football player.”
Ostroski isn’t the only member of his family to fit that description.
His older brother, Jackson, is a tight end at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.
Their father, Jerry, was a first-team All-American offensive lineman at the University of Tulsa. He played with the Buffalo Bills for nearly a decade and retired in 2002. In 2005, he was hired as an assistant coach at Tulsa Holland Hall, where he remained before becoming the Tulsa athletic department's director of premium seating in April 2019.
Owen and his father are the only members of their family who have been diagnosed with Beckwith–Wiedemann syndrome, which causes affected children to grow abnormally large until their development normalizes around age 8.
The two have a special relationship, and Owen leaned on his father's advice this spring as he received a slew of Division I offers.
“He’s been through all of this already,” Owen said. “He knows every in and out of what it’s like to be recruited and what you need to do and how you have to be prepared.
“Without him helping me through this journey, it would be pretty tough. I’m pretty blessed and fortunate to have him show me everything.”
The Oklahoman’s Super 30
Name: Owen Ostroski
School: Tulsa Holland Hall
Super 30 ranking: No. 21
Weight: 245 pounds
Position: Defensive and offensive lineman, linebacker, tight end, fullback
Recruited by: Abilene Christian, Army, Central Arkansas, Dartmouth, Drake, Hawaii, Lehigh, Navy, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Princeton
About the series
The Oklahoman’s Super 30 feature series will spotlight each high school football player on the Super 30 recruit rankings for the 2021 class. The series continued Monday with No. 21, Tulsa Holland Hall’s Owen Ostroski. See No. 20 on the list in Tuesday’s edition of The Oklahoman. Here are the last five players featured:
No. 25: Darryan Moss, LB, Broken Arrow
No. 24: Bryce Drummond, QB, Pawhuska
No. 23: Emaud Triplett, LB, Owasso
No. 22: Lance Peterman, OL, Stillwater
No. 21: Owen Ostroski, DL, Tulsa Holland Hall