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Athlete of the Week Q&A: Samanta Arenas

Each week, BRSN selects one Cornell athlete each week whose performance stood out among her peers both within the Cornell athletic community and the Ivy League. This week, we talk to Samanta Arenas, who helped the volleyball team to a double-win weekend against Princeton and Penn.

BRSN: What was your mindset going into the game against Penn?

SA: Before the game against Penn, I talked to one of the seniors (Chelsea Sincox) about how much we wanted to win. Seeing how passionate she was going into the game and knowing that we were not the only ones who felt this way really drove up my determination to win the game. Especially after the game against Princeton where we handed them their first Ivy loss, a sense of urgency built up because we needed to prove how we are a different and improved team this year. I went into that game wanting to have a good time with my teammates doing what we needed to execute the game plan.

BRSN: How did you first get started with volleyball, and what kept you in the sport?

SA: I first started playing volleyball when I was around 11 or 12 years old. I was originally a gymnast for six years, but over time, I had realized it wasn’t the right sport for me. My sister had quit gymnastics about two years before me and started playing volleyball, so when I quit gymnastics, I thought it would be nice to follow in her footsteps and give volleyball a try. I discovered that I really enjoyed the sport and have been playing ever since.

BRSN: Why did you choose Cornell?

SA: I was originally looking at a couple of schools for the academic and athletic aspects, but Cornell was the first university I looked into, and I absolutely fell in love with it. I felt that it offered me the perfect balance between rigorous academics and competitive D1 athletics. I’m from a small city at the southeastern coast of Florida, so the change in region and climate was something I also really looked forward to. I immediately got along really well with all of the people I met on the team before coming to Cornell, and I felt incredibly welcomed before I even officially committed to being a student-athlete at the school.

BRSN: What is your favorite volleyball memory?

SA: My favorite volleyball member at Cornell so far would have to be our win against Harvard last year. I remember we were losing 1-10 in the fifth set, and the spirits were very low in that moment. I’m not sure what suddenly changed, but we got together in the middle of the court after losing a point and in a passionate yet effective manner, a couple of girls started yelling that we needed to have a sense of urgency and fight for every point. We went on a run after that, and came back to win the last set. The feeling was incredible and our seniors were crying from the emotion. On the bus ride home to kill time, we started up a riff off (like the one in the movie Pitch Perfect) and some of my teammates were actually pretty good. That win definitely changed our mood and attitude for the rest of the season.

BRSN: What is your favorite sport other than volleyball?

SA: Since I was a gymnast for six years, gymnastics still is very special to me even though I ended up quitting. It is most definitely my favorite sport to watch, and it’s the only sport I never miss when watching the Olympics. I also enjoy watching basketball from time to time. That would probably be a second favorite because both my parents played basketball. My mom actually played for the women’s basketball national team in Colombia with her sister.

BRSN: Do you have any pregame superstitions?

SA: I definitely try not to worry about my pregame superstitions if I happen to change things up, but I still find myself choosing to wear white Nike socks for games over the other brand that I have. I wouldn’t say I’m an incredibly superstitious person, but I think something like this has just become more of a habit.


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