D1: Deal Done

Junior commits to Cornell University
Sydney Zanca takes flight to deliver a strike from the backrow.
Sydney Zanca takes flight to deliver a strike from the backrow.
Miriam Delgado

In the bustling hallways of Riviera Preparatory School, where seniors stress about college applications, one extraordinary junior quietly defied the norm, committing to a college far ahead of schedule.

Varsity volleyball star Sydney Zanca recently announced her commitment to the admissions process to play D1 volleyball at Cornell University. Since she arrived at Riviera in ninth grade, she has been playing volleyball, and she has become an integral part of the team, playing both middle and outside positions. This October, Zanca revealed the exciting news on her Instagram account that she would be committing to the Big Red’s admissions process. The news spread, and soon, the whole school knew about the star’s plan to commit to an Ivy League university as a junior. We spoke to some of her classmates, who were thoroughly impressed with what Zanca accomplished.

“I remember seeing the post and just being so shocked; I’m really proud of her,” said fellow junior Sofia Britton.

Sydney’s father went to Cornell, and from a young age, she dreamed of attending the university. When she started playing volleyball in seventh grade, Zanca realized that she wanted to continue playing volleyball after high school. Her club coach at Tribe Volleyball Club, Brian Coughanour, got in contact with the head coach of Cornell’s volleyball team, Trudy Vandeberg, and gave Zanca the opportunity to talk to her.

“At first, I was nervous, but the more I talked to her, she was actually really nice. It just didn’t feel real,” said Zanca.

As a junior, Zanca is currently undergoing the admissions process at the school, awaiting official admission. To secure her place, she must consistently excel academically and maintain her status as an exemplary student. Demonstrating a strong commitment to education, she is enrolled in challenging AP and Honors classes, showcasing responsibility and self-motivation in the classroom. Zanca stands out not only for her academic achievements but also for her artistic talent, as evidenced by her membership in the National Honor Society of the Arts.

Sydney’s official announcement to the Cornell admissions process from her Instagram (@sydn.eyz)

Sydney’s hard work both at school and on her club team has paid off, and she is one step closer to realizing her biggest dreams. On behalf of all of Riviera, we can’t wait to watch and support her D1 journey at the Big Red.

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