Each week, Marple Newtown Patch will seek suggestions from readers for individual kids, youth groups, teens, and even sports teams that wow us with their accomplishments. This week we highlight a rising eighth grader at Episcopal Academy for her superstar athletic abilities on the field as a field hockey player and lacrosse player.
Patch Whiz Kid of the Week: Corinne Zanolli
Whiz Kid's Age: 13
Whiz Kid's School: Episcopal Academy
Whiz Kid's Accomplishment: Corinne was recently chosen by USA Field Hockey to be one of 120 Under 14-year-olds from across the country to participate in the Futures National Championship, an Olympic development showcase at the association’s National Training Center in Virginia Beach. Based on her performance there, USA Field Hockey selected Corinne to play in the upcoming AAU Junior Olympics in Houston, Texas, beginning July 30.
Corinne is a high honors student at Episcopal Academy where she has been named Athlete of the Week for the past two years by Ann McDermott, Colleen Bernabei and Heather Dupont, coaches of the EA middle school field hockey team. Corinne was also the high scorer for EA’s middle school lacrosse A team last spring.
Corinne trains year round with former Olympians Jun and Richard Kentwell at the WC Eagles Field Hockey Club in Spring City. Recently, Corinne’s WC Eagles club team won the U14 National Club Championship at the National Training Center in Virginia Beach with an unprecedented 60 point goal differential. WC Eagles is ranked the number one field hockey club in the country by USA Field Hockey.
Whiz Kid's Awesomeness: Though she only started playing field hockey the fall of her sixth-grade year, after getting tired of playing soccer, Corinne says she immediately loved it.
"I was actually a serious travel soccer player but I kind of wanted to try something new. They came in to show us all the middle school sports options and field hockey looked pretty interesting. From the first practice in sixth grade, I loved it. I wanted to play immediately," remembers Corinne.
And so, Corinne soon joined a less intensive traveling team to get the "hang of it" and then moved on to play with the competitive WC Eagles.
Corinne said what she likes most about field hockey is the pace of the game.
"I like how it's a team effort and the stick skills involved because they're so much fun and a lot of practice. I love how the whole team has to work together to circulate the ball," adds Corinne.
Though she got sick of soccer, Corinne doesn't believe she will ever get sick of field hockey.
"I want to play for as long as I can because I love it 'till death," said Corinne.
Corinne says she's pumped to play in the Junior Olympics–"I’m very excited." Not only will it be her first time to Texas, she's excited about "meeting new people...they're from all over the country."
"It's so much fun to meet new people who share the same passion like I do and work together to form a team. I think it will be great and fun," says Corinne.
Corinne has already met the US Olympic field hockey team and says the team is her inspiration, now that she's met them.
"A lot of them are really good students at their colleges and that helps me to strive better at academics. I've always had a passion for school but hearing them juggle between sports and school, it adds more fuel to the fire," says Corinne. "One of the teammates put it: 'you do everything 150 percent and don't give up.' And that's a description of me."
Whether it's on the field or in the classroom, Corinne says she goes "full out" and always tries to "do my best in everything I do."
Corinne admits she's already thought about her career and shares her love for genetics. "I think that's the coolest thing on Earth."
"And I love biology and I love working with kids. I’m also interested in cancer research and other diseases. I’m interested in everything. I’m also interested in history," shares Corinne.
Though she has time to figure it all out in years to come, Corinne is excited for school to begin and to learn and experience what eighth grade has in store for her.