Stephanie Cen wants to study biology and eventually become a surgical nurse. But before that happens, Cen is focused on finishing out her athletic career at Jericho High School.
The All-County varsity girls volleyball player helped lead the Jayhawks in 2019, and is also a star when it comes to track and field. Cen spoke with the Syosset-Jericho Tribune to discuss her on-court success, plus what made this team so strong.
Q: What stood out to you about this volleyball season?
A: I’ve played many sports before, but this season was the most memorable to me. I don’t know if it’s because it’s my first sports season as a senior or because we had such a great group of girls. We accomplished a lot during the season. Our teammates connected more than any team I’ve been on before. It definitely showed through our accomplishments how much we connected throughout the season.
Q: Why do you feel the team connected so well?
A: We’ve been playing on the team for the most part since the seventh grade. A lot of the girls are open-minded and friendly, so we’ve stayed connected. When we all came together this year, it was like we bonded over the fact that we’ve grown together, saw each other develop and improve over the years.
Q: What makes you stand out as a leader?
A: I do club volleyball, so I could help other people improve with their skills. I know what to say to keep everyone uplifted and feel supported over the course of the season, especially if they get discouraged. It’s important for everyone to know that no matter what we go through, we’re going to get through the game. We say before every game, “Why not us?” We repeated it many times throughout the season because the girls volleyball team wasn’t as successful until recently. But we always said, “Why not us?” We knew there was a possibility to go to counties and go deep into the playoffs.
Q: What other sports do you play?
A: I do fencing and I finished fourth in the county last year for girls sabre fencing. I also did track over the years. Last year, I didn’t run. But this year, I hope to do softball, too. My favorite is volleyball because I’ve playing since elementary school. Both of my parents play it and I’ve been in love with it since I was a kid.
Q: How do the skills transfer over from one sport to another?
A: I think that volleyball and fencing are heavy in the leg area. It helps my agility and stamina to keep on going. Since I’m the libero, I always have to stay low and stay on my toes. That helps with all of the sports I do in terms of stamina.