Area highschooler Tiffany Zecena received a national grant from National Collegiate Scouting Association for her outstanding performance in softball.
Tiffany, 17, from Queens Village, has been playing softball since she was 5. She now pitches for her school, William Cullen Bryant High School in Long Island City, where she will be a senior in the fall, and for her travel team.
“My father influenced me,” she said. “He played in high school, he put my brother in baseball, then he put me in t-ball. It just went on from there.”
Tiffany’s late father was not only her inspiration, but her biggest fan. “Her father and I have always been our children’s biggest cheerleaders,” said Tiffany’s mother, Marabelle Zecena. “We were always there at their games, encouraging them. I had a feeling they would call her and tell her she got it. I knew good things would happen, even after he passed.”
Tiffany created a profile on beRecruited.com, a website that helps high school students get recruited to colleges, in the hopes that someone would discover her. “I saw an ad on the website for NCSA,” she said. “NCSA called me and spoke to me on the phone for over an hour. We talked about my father’s recent passing, how it’s just me, my brother, and my mom, and how we don’t have too much money.”
NCSA sent her a link and told her to write three paragraphs about herself. A week and a half later, the organization called her and told her she won the grant. “I was really excited,” Tiffany said.
NCSA Athletic Recruiting is an organization that gives grants to students across the nation who show high levels of achievement in both academics and athletics. It awarded Tiffany the National Leadership Grant for her capital softball record. “The grant is to help get me out there,” she explained. “NCSA helps me make videos that I can send to colleges to recruit me.”
Tiffany has been researching many colleges, but her dream school is the University of Florida. “The weather down south is great for softball,” she added.
Tiffany plans on becoming a professional softball player. “Keep playing, keep practicing,” are her words to anyone aspiring to achieve the same dream. “Practice a lot. Continue doing what you love doing.”