• November 23, 2020

SCHOLAR ATHLETE PRESENTED BY ODESSA COLLEGE: Olivas balances out schoolwork, athletics - Odessa American: Sports

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SCHOLAR ATHLETE PRESENTED BY ODESSA COLLEGE: Olivas balances out schoolwork, athletics

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Posted: Friday, May 29, 2020 5:46 pm

Expression is one of the driving forces for Dalila Olivas. It takes on a variety of forms from her school work to her work on the pitch.

The Odessa High graduate managed to balance everything out and thrived, finishing No. 7 in the Class of 2020.

Being able to stay on the field was a key motivator for Olivas in the classroom.

“I spent a lot of time trying to finish my work at school,” she said. “Being an athlete, you’re looked on more than just regular students.

“Not only are your teachers expecting stuff out of you, your coaches are too.”

Making sure that her priorities were in the right place took on more significance during the season. Not only was she a key defender for the Lady Bronchos the last three seasons, she also didn’t have much time to rest

During her junior and senior years, Olivas had a zero-period class, meaning she was at school at 7:30 a.m., even after a game the night before.

She was also in the International Baccalaureate program and had to manage those commitments as well.

Olivas said that there were a lot of days where it was hard to get up that early. At the same time, she understood how to manage that time.

“I put a lot of reminders on my phone,” she said. “I also made sure that I made a list and tried to get as much as I could done before I got home.”

That reliability was one of the attributes that stood out for Lady Bronchos head coach Cecilia Kellar. She says she talked with Olivas a lot about managing her work, helping to set an example for the rest of the team through her actions.

“She never talked about it or complained,” Kellar said. “She just went on to do her thing every day.”

Kellar added that Olivas was also a quiet leader on the field as a defender. She was a key part of the Lady Bronchos winning a bi-district title each of the last two seasons and was a second team all-district selection in 2020.

“You were able to rely on her and she’s always going to do the right thing,” she said. “She was a ‘yes ma’am’ kid and was out there getting early touches on the ball and working hard.”

That determination not only shows in Olivas’ work on the field and in the classroom, but in a more creative endeavor.

Olivas is a painter and says she’s done that ever since she was little. She plans to study graphic design at Abilene Christian to eventually pursue a career in the arts.

One of her favorite subjects is her 12-year old younger brother who she says that she wants to be an example for.

“That’s another reason I work so hard during school,” she said. “I don’t want to tell him to try and get straight A’s and not try and do that myself.”

While Olivas is proud of what she accomplished during her time at high school, she is also trying to move forward from one thing she didn’t get a chance to finish.

She said that she was planning on painting a mural in the girls’ locker room on campus.

Those plans — along with the rest of her senior season — were cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Olivas admits that it’s taken some time to process everything and hopes to continue her soccer career by walking on at ACU.

“It still didn’t feel real until I had to go turn in my bag at school,” she said. “That’s when I realized that it was really over.

“It is what it is and I’m just trying to get better and get ready for the chance to play college soccer.”

Kellar adds that she’s confident that Olivas will find success in whatever she decides to do given how everything ended.

“As unfortunate as it is, Dalila has probably had the best mindset that you can have in this situation,” she said. “She’s super positive and has worked hard in everything that she does.

“You want to see those kids get those opportunities to continue to excel.”

Odessa, TX

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