A Vincentian athlete attending Kingsborough Community College (KCC) in Brooklyn has been named CUNY (City University of New York) Community College Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year 2019.
Zenron Chance, 18, told Caribbean Life, in an exclusive interview, on Sunday that he was “extremely stunned to hear” last week that he will be given “the highest CUNY Community College award of Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year 2019.” He majored in sports management.
Chance said he was chosen from among “all the American and international students attending all 30 of the City University of New York Community Colleges.”
In early May, Chance said he finally won an All-American title in the 400m track and 400m hurdles, saying it was “true success at last and a great reward for all the training and hard work.”
He said he will accept the award on June 13 at his graduation ceremony. His fellow Vincentian athletes, Kailon Kirby and Rogike Thorpe, will also be graduating. All three were students at the Thomas Saunders Secondary School (TSSS) in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Chance said some of his family members in New York, as well as his sponsor, who prefers to remain anonymous, will be, among others, attending the graduation ceremony.
“I will accept this award with great honour and carry St. Vincent (and the Grenadines) in my heart, as I go on stage,” he said. “Sadly, my mother cannot attend, as she did not succeed with her visa to the U.S.A. for some reason. But she will be there, at the front, the next time.
“This opportunity to go and study and pursue my dream of being an international athletics star, especially for someone so young, was given to me by those who truly believed in me, who saw my potential: My mother (Lou-Ann Chance), my coach and my sponsor,” he added.
“And I will forever feel both humble and grateful to them, and I will go from strength to strength with self-belief, determination and hard work, and I will make them proud,” Chance continued. “I will make my school proud and my entire country proud.”
The young athlete said his next step is to follow in the footsteps of his compatriot Consolo Adams, a former KCC student, who was awarded a four-year basketball scholarship by the University in Washington, and Kirby, who received a four-year athletic scholarship to a university in Connecticut.
Chance said he has applied for four-year athletic scholarships to Alabama State University in Montgomery and Coppin State University in Baltimore, MD.
He also plans to apply for similar scholarships to Troy University in Troy, Alabama and the University of St. Augustine in North Carolina, where another Vincentian athlete, Brandon Parris, from TSSS is on an athletic scholarship.
“I don’t really have a preference for which university, as long as they train me and prepare me for pursuing my path of excellence and winning gold medals for St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” Chance said.
In 2017, when he graduated from TSSS, Chance said he was “thrilled” to be the recipient of the Male Athlete of the Year and Student of the Year awards.
“So, I knew that I needed to continue working as hard as I did then to be rewarded in the future at KCC,” he said.
Last year, Chance was named KCC’s Male Scholar Athlete of the Year, Male Outdoor Athlete of the Year, Male Indoor Athlete of the Year and Male Cross Country Athlete of the Year.
“Those four awards allowed me to realize that I needed to continue doing whatever I was doing, and that success is always possible if you really believe in yourself, really motivate yourself and really work hard,” he said.
“It helps to have other people around you, who believe in you and support you,” he added, stating that he was blessed to be living in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn with his fellow athletes from St. Vincent and the Grenadines and to have a coach at KCC in Dave Looby.
Chance also complimented coach Godfrey “Fuzzy” Harry and his support team at TSSS for paving the way for his eventual success at KCC.
In 2016 and 2017, Chance, under Harry’s guidance, qualified to represent TSSS at the illustrious Penn Relays Carnival at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
In addition, he credited, among others, James Cordice, pioneer and coordinator of Vincentian athletes participating in the Penn Relays, the Vincentian Diaspora in America and his private sponsor for his Penn Relays success.
“This was the beginning of my dream,” he added. “It opened my eyes to the bigger picture and the opportunities available in the outside world, and the seed was sewn.”
The Philadelphia-based Cordice told Caribbean Life that, when Chance competed for TSSS at the Penn Relays, he was “always hungry to win, never afraid to work hard, and extremely smart and honest.
“I am not surprised by his high performance on and off the track,” he said. “And I know something else; Zenron is just beginning.”
Chance said he intends to be St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ “chance” for Commonwealth gold in Birmingham in 2022 and for Olympic gold in Paris in 2024 in the 400m track and 400m hurdles.