by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Rita Belka has resigned as Zimmerman’s volleyball coach, after a five-year tenure in which she energized the program.
Cassandra Olson, her assistant, a former athletic star in high school and college, has been named the new head coach, announced Jaime Hilyar, activities director.
Belka took over a sagging program that was winning only two or three matches per year and made the Thunder competitive, capped by a 21-8, section runner-up finish this year. Her five-year mark was 64-71.
“It was not an easy decision. The parents and players hin Zimmerman are amazing,” said Belka. Her reason for stepping down was that she was missing too many of her own children’s activities.
Belka added that the program “will remain strong” with Olson and JV coach Emily Zahn.
Olson was assistant to Belka all five years, has been running the strength and condition program for volleyball, and directs Junior Olympic club team.
Olson was an all-state middle hitter at Ogilvie and a three-time track-and-field All-American at North Dakota State, majoring in Exercise Science. She is a Special Education Assistant at the middle/high school and track assistant coach.