Wheeling's versatile Zambrano will play volleyball at Chicago State

Updated 10/8/2019 8:56 PM

You name it.

Grace Zambrano tried it.


Cheerleading, gymnastics, dance, soccer, running, volleyball and more.

Finally, when she was in eighth grade, she found the right one.

The one where you can find her setting, digging and attacking for Wheeling's girl volleyball team.

And next year, she'll be doing it for Chicago State's Division I program.

"It was in eighth grade when I truly developed a passion and a strong desire to get better in volleyball," Zambrano said. "As I progressively began to improve in high school, that's where the goal (of playing D-I) became clear."

At the start of high school, Zambrano watched tons of D-I collegiate volleyball matches.

"Watching those, I dreamed of wanting to be just like those players and get to compete at the highest level possible," she said.

Fast forward a couple of years, and Zambrano can now say that she's accomplished her dream.

"I couldn't be happier and more thankful," she said. "My family has always been my No. 1 supporters, and I cannot thank them enough for everything they've done for me. I'm extremely thankful for all the time my coaches have put in to make me the best person I can be both on and off the court.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service

Zambrano plans to study registered nursing.

"The medical field has always been something I took lots of interest in and a career I wanted to pursue," she said. "I aspire to someday become a pediatrician."

For now, she is one of the top players in the Mid-Suburban League.

"My favorite part of volleyball would simply be competing with my team," she said. "I truly enjoy just going out on the court and having fun, while also being very competitive."

Zambrano fine-tuned her skills at the Sky High volleyball club.

"I learned a lot the season I played on my 17-year-old Sky High team," she said. "The most memorable part was when we placed in the Top 10 in the big qualifiers. I enjoyed getting to play alongside some amazing teammates and creating lasting friendships with them."

Wheeling coach Jason Kopkowski could not be happier for his setter.

"Grace has committed herself to volleyball and created the opportunity for herself at Chicago State," he said. "The passion she has for the game is easily seen every time she steps onto the court.


"Her desire to compete continues to propel her to higher levels of competition, as well as continual improvement. I know that Grace will continue to excel at Chicago State and I look forward to bringing future Wildcats to see her play."

Men's track

Former Illinois University hurdles standout David Kendziera (Prospect) placed first in the 400-meter hurdles for Team USATF at The Match, Europe vs. USA in Minsk, Belarus.

Kendziera clocked 48.99 to achieve victory at The Match.

"I just made sure to go out hard," said Kendziera on the Illini website. "That's kind of been the main thing that I was struggling on all year and I just had to go back to the basics. To run the 400 hurdles you've got to have courage, and it takes courage to go out like that in the race. I just tried to hold for as long as I could, stay the typical race pattern that I do and I came out with a victory."

Kendziera's first-place finish tallied 9 team points for Team USATF. Europe won The Match over Team USATF by a score of 724.5 to 601.5.

It was Kendziera's first time competing with Team USA on the world stage, and he eyes competing for Team USA on the Olympic team in 2020.

"To be a part of my first USA Team is an honor, and I couldn't be more happy with the result that I had," Kendziera said. "Just having the international experience and being a part of what Team USA wants keeps you hungry and makes you want to be on it the next time. I'm ready for it in 2020."


St. Norbert (WI) senior Shannon McGovern (Palatine) is the captain of the Green Knights' cheerleading squad which also cheers for the Green Bay Packers.

So McGovern, a die-hard Packer fan whose family has season tickets, gets to perform at Lambeau Field.

She started cheering with PAFA in Palatine then went on to Palatine High School where she cheered four years and was a member of the Pirates' state finalist squad her junior year.

She is a two-season cheer athlete for football and basketball at St. Norbert, keeping her busy from July to March.

Elk Grove feeder

Tryouts for the Elk Grove Lady Grens feeder basketball are Tuesday, Oct. 22 and Wednesday, Oct. 23 from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Elk Grove gymnasium.

Athletes must bring a completed registration form and liability waiver form which is available online at https://sites.google.com/a/d214.org/eghs-girls-basketball/

Any questions should be forwarded to Jennifer Buxton at jennifer.buxton@d214.org.

The Grens are also looking for volunteer coaches. If interested, email Buxton.

Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.