Alumni Spotlight: Cross Country And Track Hall Of Famer Jeffrey Olenick C'01

Alumni Spotlight: Cross Country And Track Hall Of Famer Jeffrey Olenick C'01

Welcome to the first edition of the Goucher College Athletics Alumnae/I Spotlight! We were going to announce this series with the unveiling of the new design of the website, but we could all use some happy and heartwarming news so it's is a perfect time to start our spotlight on alumnae/I.

The Alumnae/I Spotlight is a Question and Answer feature of some of your favorite Gophers. We look forward to updating you on several former Goucher athletics and if you are a former Gopher and would like to participate in our Alumane/i Spotlight, Click HERE and we might use your responses for our spotlight feature!

We first put the spotlight on Goucher Hall of Famer Jeffrey Olenick:

Jeffrey Olenick C'01, who was inducted into the Goucher College Athletics Hall of Fame in 2011, was an outstanding runner for John Caslin and the Gophers cross country and track and field teams. Olenick was the first runner in program history to qualify for the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships as a freshman and also capped his career by a second trip to the national stage and finished ninth in the national championships. He was a three-time Capital Athletic Conference Male Cross Country Athlete of the Year after winning the league's individual title three times. He joined the track and field team his senior year and excelled where he was named the CAC Co-Male Athlete of the Year.  

Why did you choose Goucher College?
Goucher really had everything I wanted in a school - small class sizes, a diverse academic program with lots of options, a beautiful campus that was close to an urban center, and Goucher was one of only a few schools that recruited me to run. Despite being a state champion twice in high school, I didn't receive much interest from any D-I or larger D-III programs. Coach Caslin reached out to me early in my senior year and was really instrumental in selling me on Goucher - both athletically and academically; when it was time to make a decision it was a no-brainer. Were it not for Coach Caslin, though, I probably would have wound up elsewhere.    

How did Goucher College prepare you for the real world?
I didn't wind up pursuing a career that was academically aligned to what I studied in college (History), but Goucher did prepare me in a lot of ways for life after school - the school taught me courage, self-confidence, self-reliance, time-management/prioritization and a host of other intangible skills that have helped me greatly through some difficult situations in my life and career.    

How did being a student-athlete help shape you into the person you are today?
It would be impossible to quantify this or put this into words. A student-athlete is what I'll always be; even though I graduated nearly 20 years ago it is still who I am and the positive qualities of being a student-athlete still define me today.    

What was your most memorable experience at Goucher athletically?
There are so many great memories that it's hard to choose one...But I think the second before the gun went off for my first cross country race freshman year is probably what I would choose.  The anticipation was exhilarating; standing there waiting for the gun and knowing that it was the beginning of four years of pushing myself to the limit and finding out what I was capable of - exciting doesn't even begin to describe it.    

What was your most non-athletic memorable experience at Goucher?
Completing my last exam senior year. I even remember the course - Special Education 100.  I didn't have to pass it in order to graduate so I didn't wait to see my grade before celebrating, but I remember sitting in my room afterwards and being completely astounded that somehow, someway I had managed to finish college. I also remember thinking - What's next?!?!? College was just the beginning.

What advice would you give current college students interested in pursuing a career in your field?
Working for the military can be extremely complex and stressful. That being said, many of the qualities that are required to excel in athletics are very valuable in this career field - perseverance, patience, motivation, dedication, teamwork, sacrifice.  If you possess these, you can be successful.        

Looking back at your time at the Goucher, what advice would you give to current Goucher students or someone looking to come to the Goucher?
College is an investment. Not only financially; it's also an investment in your future. And investing isn't a spectator sport; you have to care for and nurture your investment if you want to realize the maximum return on it. Don't take your decision on where to attend college or what to do when you're there lightly. Work hard, study hard, play hard - and you'll find that you'll receive a substantial return on your investment that will last you for the rest of your life.

Give an update on what you have been up to since graduating from the Goucher College:
I joined the Federal Government a few weeks after graduation and have been working for the Department of Defense for over 18 years. I spent the first part of my career traveling to various assignments in Southwest Asia and Europe in support of the Global War on Terrorism and am now based at Scott AFB outside St. Louis. I'm currently the Director of Movement Support for the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, a 2-Star Army Command that transports military cargo domestically and internationally by truck, rail, vessel and air. My partner, Melissa, and I are the proud parents of 4 awesome kids. And wherever I've been, I've continued to run every day since I graduated.