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  • Michaela Chan

Big Red Spotlight with Zachary LaPolice

Welcome to Big Red Spotlight, where we get to take a deep dive into the lives and interests of Cornell’s student-athletes beyond the sport they play! For our debut, we will meet Zachary LaPolice. He is a current sophomore in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences majoring in Communication with a minor in Business. He is a wide receiver on the Cornell Football team.

Michaela Chan (MC): Why did you end up choosing football?

Zachary LaPolice (ZL): My whole family played football and since I was a baby I always had a football in my hand. My older brother who is my idol played football and I looked up to him so I wanted to emulate everything he did. I knew from a young age that football was my calling as it was a way for me to get away from school, social life, etc. I fell in love with the physicality of it, the lessons learned from the game, and the sport as a whole.

MC: What is your favorite NFL team, and who is your favorite player?

ZL: Pittsburgh Steelers—my brother’s favorite player was on the Steelers so I ended up bandwagoning with him; since watching the Steelers, my favorite player is Santonio Holmes.

MC: Do you have a favorite exercise/lift?

ZL: I love squatting–it definitely is my favorite.

MC: If you had to go on a month-long vacation with one person on your team, who would it be?

ZL: I’m choosing someone who would keep me sane, keep me laughing all the time, and in check. This person is someone I don’t usually spend time with, so it allows major character building between us both, which would be Trey Harris.

MC: Who are your top 3 music artists?

ZL: Drake, Tame Impala, & Bob Marley

MC: What are some of your favorite movies?

ZL: American Sniper, Tenet, Spider-Man 3, and American Psycho.

MC: If you had one last meal, what would you include?

ZL: A5 Wagyu paired with a fresh jumbo lobster tail, and truffle mac and cheese or pasta

MC: What are some of your hobbies?

ZL: I love surfing and have been surfing for about 6 years. I learned it in Costa Rica while on vacation with my family, and I loved it so I kept it going. During the summer, I am always surfing everyday—it is very peaceful and tranquil. I am a huge water person– I love to surf, snorkel, swim, etc. I am also into photography! In high school, I took a photography class, and I tend to always have my camera out to capture nature and abstract/ obscure things. Pictures allow you to define what is good and bad- it is up to interpretation.

MC: What is something you cannot live without?

ZL: I can’t live without my dog—whenever I am home, she’s always with me and I wish I could’ve brought her here. I think that I am actually the reason why my family got a dog; I always kept pushing to get a dog even though my family didn’t want one and when I met her I knew she was the one.

MC: What is your spirit animal?

ZL: I would say spider because my sister did this in depth test/ analysis for it that ties with my astrology sign. I am not sure why and if I see a spider I would kill it, but they’re essential to the world. However, if I could choose my own it would be a cheetah or panther because they are fast, sly, and calculated.

MC: What is something people never would have been able to guess about you?

ZL: I used to be a singer. My family was never musical, but I took piano lessons and sang for a majority of my life. I actually sang on public announcements and talent shows when I was young.

MC: What has been your favorite memory at Cornell so far?

ZL: My first game as a freshman was one of the coolest experiences ever. We played against Princeton, and it was super surreal because it was the first time stepping out onto a collegiate field and being on TV.

MC: Lastly, what is something you are grateful for?

ZL: The support system at Cornell. I know I can turn to anyone here: teammates, coaches, and teachers. Specifically, my teammates are people I am super grateful for because no one goes through what we go through, mentally and physically.

Thank you to Zach for being our first feature, and BIG thanks to you for reading and supporting BRSN and my new column. Be sure to check out other written pieces and stay tuned for the next edition of Big Red Spotlight soon!


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