The Fab Freshman: ‘Iolani’s Oglivie named POY

Sparked by freshman Elena Oglivie (9), the ‘Iolani Raiders won their first state title since 2001, when Ann Kang was the coach and current Kamehameha boss Chris Blake was an assistant. Cindy Ellen Russell / Star-Advertiser
Sparked by freshman Elena Oglivie (9), the ‘Iolani Raiders won their first state title since 2001, when Ann Kang was the coach and current Kamehameha boss Chris Blake was an assistant. Cindy Ellen Russell / Star-Advertiser

Elena Oglivie isn’t just another ninth grader finding her way through a mountain of homework every night as a student at ‘Iolani School.

After all, she thrives on it. Especially algebra. And there’s more to enjoy. Hula. Snacking. Snacking is big for an athlete who never seems to tire of playing volleyball year-round at a high level. An elite level.

She is, after all, the 2016 Star-Advertiser Girls Volleyball All-State Fab 15 player of the year. The All-State team was published in today’s print and online editions.

Here, on Hawaii Prep World, Oglivie shares her thoughts on volleyball and life as the only freshman to win POY honors in Hawaii girls volleyball.

Elena Oglivie
‘Iolani volleyball
Q&A / Favorites
Athlete: Destinee Hooker

> “She used to play on the US. She’s an opposite and she’s a really great hitter. I used to love watching her.”

Team: United States Volleyball Team

Food (at home):
> “My favorite snack at home is salami and balsamic vinegar from Trader Joe’s. It comes in a bottle and you pour it on the salami. I had it maybe two days ago. When we run out, I have to wait until we go back to the mainland.”
Should Hawaii have a Trader Joe’s?
> “Yes!”

Food (eating out):
> “My go-to food places are Kozo Sushi (for) spicy ahi donburi, and Chili’s explosion salad.”

Hobby outside of sports: Dancing Hula, going to the beach 
> “I took hula dancing in school as an elective. The beach is very relaxing.”

Movie: Now You See Me Series
> “There’s only two. It’s about four magicians. It’s so, the first time I saw it was whoa.”

TV show: One Tree Hill
> “It’s on Netflix. I just like everything with the drama, how kids deal with high school.” 

Music artist: Beyoncé 
> “She’s just a strong, independent woman.” 

Teacher (elementary through high school): Ms. (Yuki) Basso my 7th and 8th grade English teacher. 
> “She’s like one of the teachers who really connect things in school and out of school. She’d ask how my volleyball was going, and other things.”

GPA: 3.8
> “I really try to (get a 4.0), but ‘Iolani is too tough. I got a B in one class (world history). I really was mad about the B. I would’ve had a 4.0. I should’ve worked harder in that class to get an A.”

Class: Algebra 
> “It comes to me easier than any other subject. It’s straightforward, black and white.” 

Being selected All-State Player of the Year — what does this mean to you? 
> “I still can’t believe that I was selected. It’s so unreal and such an honor and a privilege to be grouped with amazing athletes that I have competed against and those that were selected before me. I want to be an example for younger players to strive to do their best, work hard, and never give up.”

Dedication to volleyball / club volleyball:
> “I love this game. I started playing volleyball when I was 6 and had a lot of opportunities to play different positions, but it wasn’t until I started playing with Ku’ikahi (Volleyball Club) that i switched over to outside hitter. That foundation has enabled me to be a better all around player. My coaches have always emphasized preparation, effort, a good attitude, and hard work can never be substituted. 

Place to relax: 
> “I like to relax on my cozy bed, on the beach, and an old but comfortable massage chair at my house.” 

Motto/scripture: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. — Philippians 4:13
> “If you go to church every Sunday, it definitely helps in my volleyball. It does give me strength. I think God is always with me on the court, pushing me to work harder. He’s there when I need them.”

What your mom says that you can’t forget: 
> “My mom, Helene, always tells me no matter what, serve God.” 

What your dad says that you can’t forget: 
> “My dad, Septimus, always tells me to dream big, stay humbled and grounded. My mom played volleyball for fun at church. My dad was really into football and basketball in New York City.”

What your coaches say that you can’t forget: 
> ”My coaches always emphasize to be a better person before a better volleyball player and that has always stuck with me.” 

How does volleyball affect your daily life during the season and offseason? 
> “School ball and club ball has made it a year-round sport so there always seems to be an in season for me. I balance my hectic schedule by keeping school as a priority and work volleyball around it. I attend church on Sunday’s at Potters House Christian Church in Waipahu. I have strength and agility training on weekdays for my conditioning. I will admit I do find my self daily either playing, watching or thinking about volleyball. I balance it out by spending time with friends and family. I grew up playing multiple sports to include soccer, basketball, track and volleyball. I encourage others to try different things. I found that I love volleyball and it’s an important part of my life.  One of the best parts I enjoy about volleyball is bonding with my team and trust we build from it. It has helps tremendously on the court.” 

> “I’m done with soccer. Basketball, I was gonna go out this year, but I decided not to. I’m still debating about track. Coach Eddie (Maruyama) is really encouraging me to play other sports. Maybe next year.” 

What school would you have attended if you hadn’t gone to ‘Iolani?
> “I would’ve went to Hawaii Technology Academy, which is a homeschool program.”  
> “My sister and brother went to HTA, I’m the only one who didn’t. Ana (who was also voted to the All-State Fab 15) went from sixth to seventh (grade).” 

What middle and elementary schools did you attend? 
> From kindergarten to fifth grade I went to Kapolei Elementary and I started iolani in sixth grade. 

What do you like to do — or what’s something else you’re good at — that would surprise most people?
> “I love spending time with my extended family, who lives in kailua and watching my niece and nephews grow up.” 
> “When I was at Kapolei, I liked answering the question in math class. My friends were, ‘You’re so smart.’ At ‘Iolani, everyone is smart.”

What is your ultimate dream? 
> “I’ve always been told to dream big and my ultimate dream is to be able to play at the highest level of volleyball: playing in the Olympics, professional volleyball (Europe).” 

What is the history and background of your name?
> “My name Elena Natalia Noelani Oglivie comes from my mom because her name is Helene and she wanted to connect my name to hers. I got Natalia from my moms best friends name, Natalie, and Noelani means heavenly mist.” 

Any shout-outs or additional thoughts are welcome. 
> “Shout out to Coach Kainoa (Obrey), Jared (Yamamoto), and Fin (David) for their instruction and the whole program of ‘Iolani. Shout out to Iolani Raider Nation and their fan support all year! Coach Deb (Yee) and Coach Dav of Jammers early years and Coach Kenny (Patton) for his speed and agility training. Also shout out to my teammates especially my sister, Ana, for the great sets and being a great role model.”


  1. turfwar November 29, 2016 9:39 am

    No college questions included in the interview?

  2. Searider86 November 29, 2016 10:55 am

    Cool article! Congrats to you and your teammates!

  3. Paul Honda November 29, 2016 3:52 pm

    In the print All-State story, I wrote about the 12 schools that are interested in her. (That part may have been cut out due to space limit.) No offers yet, probably because she’s a freshman. That will change soon, no doubt.

  4. po'okela November 30, 2016 12:57 am

    and which 12 schools are those?

    i’m curious if she even has any interest in staying in hawaii and playing in front of her family and friends.

  5. charles December 5, 2016 1:24 pm

    i haven’t seen a player like Elena Oglivie with this talent and potential in Hawaii high school since Kanani Danielson and Kanoi Kamanao. maybe she’ll be a Fab 50 by her senior year. hope Hawaii recruits her aggressively. she’ll be exciting to watch!

  6. hossana April 24, 2017 8:06 am

    Anybody says Iolani recruits is like a peacock with their head in the ground….all the students undergo a rigid curriculum and if they can’t cut it, well, goodbye….if you look at the curriculum all the students undertake whether their athletes or not, I can honestly say it will be difficult to attract top notch athletes to the school unless they can adapt to the rigid academic curriculum at Iolani.

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