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New coach brings enthusiasm, determination to Hillcrest girls basketball team

Dec 01, 2017 08:00AM ● Published by Jana Klopsch

Devin Olenick was hired to coach girls basketball at Hillcrest High School, bringing experience and determination to the new season. (Courtesy Devin Olenick)

By Jennifer Gardiner| j.gardiner@mycityjournals.com

Hillcrest High girls basketball got a new coach this year, bringing experience, hope and encouragement to a program that has been struggling over the last several years.  

Devin Olenick moved to Utah from South Carolina after receiving word he had been selected as the new head coach for the 2017 - 2018 girls basketball team and physical education teacher at Hillcrest High School. 

“For several years I have had my eye on moving to the Rocky Mountain region and have been waiting for the right time and opportunity to do so,” Olenick said. “Having visited Salt Lake City a few times to ski previously, I have absolutely fallen in love with the region, the city, and its proximity to the mountains.” 

Olenick said once he heard he got the job at Hillcrest, he packed up his wife, Laura, their 2-year-old son, Owen and their two dogs and traveled across the country. Shortly after arriving in Utah, Olenick’s wife gave birth on November 1 to their son, Logan. 

Olenick said the coaching position appealed to him for a number of reasons, but the main appeal was seeing there is an opportunity to build a program at Hillcrest, giving him the drive and desire to establish Hillcrest as a consistent contender. 

“There is enthusiasm among the girls in the program, and a desire to compete and taste success,” Olenick said. “Hillcrest girls basketball has won one playoff game in the last 15 plus years and with that can come a feeling of apathy or lack of desire to participate within the student body. Our goal and hope is to experience some early success to get some excitement and attention drawn to the program with the hope that our participation numbers will rise.”

Olenick said an enormous asset to helping with that effort will be the new building scheduled to be completed in the near future. That will include a new gym.  

Olenick grew up in East Stroudsburg, Penn. where he played basketball, baseball and golf in high school. After bouncing around to a few colleges pursuing baseball and golf, he ended up moving to Columbia, S.C., where he attended the University of South Carolina and received a degree in education. Olenick remained in Columbia for 12 years. He eventually landed a job at a new private school in Lexington, S.C., and began coaching basketball and helped get the athletic program started. 

A couple of years later, Olenick was given the opportunity to coach at a new public school, River Bluff High School where he spent the next four years as the head JV and assistant varsity basketball coach. Olenick said he felt fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn from some incredible coaches at River Bluff, not just in the basketball program but at all levels of leadership. 

The Hillcrest girls basketball team started practice last week, and Olenick said they have been working hard on a daily basis to prepare with their first game, which was Nov. 21 at Timpview. 

“We return six seniors who will all be integral parts to our success,” Olenick said. “Cara Snowder, Gabrielle Desjardins and Annabella Jensen will play crucial roles this season, as we work to install a new system and gel together as a unit.” 

Anna Wright, Taylee Allen, Olivia Palepoi, Hope Higgs, Amanda Means, Amelia Slama-Catron, Brook Grammon, complete the roster for the varsity team and all bring competitive talent to the team, giving encouragement and hopes for a successful season. 

The team will definitely have their share of competition this year facing opponents such as Timpview, Corner Canyon, Clearfield and Taylorsville. Throughout the season they will additionally face teams from Jordan, Skyridge, Riverton, Brighton, Granger, Hunter, Kearns and Cyprus. 

Follow the team’s schedule, progress and game statistics at www.maxpreps.com

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