Jamie Wolmering never thought he’d play for the Ohio State men’s volleyball team.
The redshirt sophomore played Division III basketball before transferring to Ohio State and joining the club volleyball team. He eventually made his way onto the varsity squad.
Despite multiple Division II volleyball offers, Wolmering decided to play basketball at Division III SUNY Oswego from 2015-16.
“I just kind of thought it was the school for me because they had my major at the time. They were good at basketball, they were in state and my parents could watch me play,” Wolmering said.
Head men’s volleyball coach Pete Hanson said he was interested in Wolmering when he saw him play in high school, but had no room for him at outside hitter. When he found out Wolmering transferred to Ohio State and one of his middle blockers decided to quit the team, Hanson reached out to Wolmering.
During Wolmering’s first year on campus during the 2017 season, playing for the Ohio State club volleyball team, he helped lead the Buckeyes to a runner-up finish in the Club Nationals.
“We had heard what the club team had done and they had a good year,” Hanson said. “I happened to see him really at the end of our season when our season was actually over and this other young man told me he wasn’t going to return. That’s when I kind of circled back to Jamie because I still had his contact information here at Ohio State and said if you are still interested in being a part of our program here’s the way to do it.”
Hanson suggested the best way for Wolmering to make the team was to switch from outside hitter to middle blocker.
Wolmering had always been an outside hitter, and was shocked Hanson asked him to make such a drastic position change.
Wolmering said his response to the request for a position change was to give his coach a funny look and tell him he had never played middle blocker before. But Hanson told him the team will work with him to make the transition easier over the summer.
Wolmering credits his year of club volleyball for helping him transition smoother to the varsity team.
“It was a lot more competitive than I thought it was going to be going in,” Wolmering said. “So I really think that helped me get my skills back and just play with good competition again.”
One thing that transferred from club to varsity was his coachability, Hanson said. The A-team coach for club volleyball, Isaac Navar, and Hanson both brought up Wolmering’s work ethic and patience working with the staff as reasons why they enjoyed coaching him.
Hanson said that coachability and work ethic were the main reasons he stuck on the team’s roster.
“He’s not one that is opposed to working hard or working extra,” Hanson said. “He’s all in as we say and that’s kind of what we wanted and if he hadn’t been we probably wouldn’t have kept him around. He wouldn’t have made it to this level or this stage if he wasn’t willing to put in extra time because he was behind these other guys and to catch up to them you have to work harder.”
Wolmering’s route to varsity was atypical, and Navar said it usually works the other way around.
“It’s a unique situation, usually, it works the other way around. We get the ex-varsity players who have finished their NCAA eligibility, but they still have a year of academics to go,” Navar said.
Wolmering didn’t take the perfect path to becoming a Division I volleyball player. But now that he’s made it, he’s starting to see the results of the work he’s put in since he was just a Division III basketball player.
Wolmering and the Buckeyes will take to the court to open the season at 7 p.m. on Jan. 6 against North Greenville at St. John Arena.