When Nate Kolb came to Western Nebraska Community College, he came here to get better as a baseball player.
He accomplished that feat and more. Now, after this season with the Cougar baseball team, Kolb will take his talents to the University of Mary in North Dakota to continue his baseball playing after signing with the Marauders.
"I was really intrigued with the coaching staff they are bringing in there and the program they are starting to develop and what they are trying to accomplish there," Kolb, of Cloverdale, British Columbia, said. "They are turning their program around and that is what really attracted me the most."
Kolb is the second play in the last three years to pitch for the University of Mary. Ian Fisher, who was a right-handed pitcher for the Cougars, is a senior on the Marauder team this year.
Last year as a redshirt freshman, Kolb pitched 21.1 innings and had 21 strikeouts. This year he is hoping to have a bigger impact on the team's season.
"I have improved tons here," he said. "I probably wasn't very good when I showed up and I have gotten a lot better from where I started. I am pretty proud of what I was able to accomplish."
He credits a lot of his improvement to coaches Mike Jones and Ryan Burgner.
"Coach Jones gave me my only shot out of high school," Kolb said. "He took a chance on taking me and I am happy of where I am able to come and go in terms of playing."
Kolb said he is grateful for his time in Scottsbluff and wouldn't trade it for anything.
"Coming here was probably the best decision of my life so far," he said. "I have been here for three years and I don't think I would trade that for anything. Scottsbluff has become a home to me and I loved it here. Ever since I have been here, everything this program stands for is completely what I want and what I am looking for and where I needed to be to strive and be successful. It was a good decision to be here and be a Cougar."
Kolb not only strives to get better on the field, but he strives in the classroom, too. Kolb earned a spot on the Dean's List in the fall with a GPA of 3.4-3-99. Kolb already has a degree in nutritional science and when he gets to the University of Mary, he is planning on studying exercise science.
Kolb's dream has to play college baseball and he has achieved that goal.
"[Playing college baseball] is everything. It has always been my dream to play college baseball," he said. "I was fortunate enough to achieve that goal coming here and I set a new goal of wanting to become a Division II athlete. Now, I will have the opportunity to continue with my athletic career and just let it go as far as it will take me."
His goal for this season is to help WNCC win a Region IX title. WNCC opens the season Feb. 9-10 at Garden City Community College in Garden City, Kansas. The Cougars first home game will be Feb. 16-17 against Miles Community College.
"We are looking for a positive outlook," he said. "I think we all have the same common goal here and we expect a region championship. That is really what we are after and what we want to achieve. I think everyone is on the same page in terms of that and that is what we are going to do."
Also, freshman Kyler Harris signed recently to play in the Expedition Collegiate Wood-bat League this summer with the Casper Horseheads.