At McFarland Junior High, Ornstein played soccer, ran track, and played in Pee Wee baseball leagues. In his first year at Central High School, he won the Interscholastic for running the half-mile. Later, he became one of two Jewish starters on the school’s varsity basketball team, continuing with the team until graduation in 1939. Ornstein brought his basketball talents to Georgetown University where he played first-string varsity. Handball eventually became his sport, with Ornstein proving a tough competitor in singles and doubles AAU Handball Championships.