Ariana Rodriguez ’23 to Compete in Olympics

Poly Athletics was very pleased to announce that recent alumna Ariana Rodriguez ’23 qualified for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris with the Dominican Republic Women’s National Volleyball Team. Rodriguez is now a freshman at the University of Miami, where she plays volleyball for the D1 school.

Ariana Rodriguez
Ariana Rodriguez ’23

“Ariana was a two-time 1st team all league, two-time MVP, and back to back NYSAIS Champion!” said her Poly Varsity Volleyball coach, Ben Diaz. “She led our team by example and inspired those around her. Ariana is by far one of the toughest, most competitive, hard-working individuals that I have had the pleasure of coaching.”

“I remember watching the Dominican Republic in London 2012, Rio 2016, and Tokyo 2020 and just thought to myself, that is a huge life accomplishment that one day I can hopefully achieve.”

Ariana Rodriguez ’23

“I will say that her leadership, work ethic, and fierce competitive drive played a huge part in the success of last year’s team,” said Athletics Director Kym Carter. “Amazingly powerful athlete, she was exciting to watch!”

Poly Volleyball

While at Poly, Rodriguez won the Chuck Kaufman ’56 Memorial Award, named for a three-sport athlete, and played for the Dominican Republic at the Pan American Cup. She says her greatest memory of her time at Poly was winning back-to-back NYSAIS championships.

Ariana Rodriguez
Ariana Rodriguez ’23 with NYSAIS championship plaques.

We asked Ariana how her Poly volleyball career prepared her for an Olympic level of competition. “Playing for Poly Volleyball was part of preparing me for this level of play, Rodriguez said, “but my international experience in the junior level is what mostly shaped my craft. Poly’s team was filled with competitive girls who were eager to get better every day in practice and that motivated me to get better and make the people around me even better. My junior national team experience opened my eyes to a new level of intense and competitive volleyball. Training every day with girls who had the same objective as me in life made me want to work 10 times harder because I did not want to feel like I was behind, skill-level-wise. Ultimately, playing on both Poly and the junior national team has crafted the player I am today and will be in the future.”

Qualifying for the Dominican Team
Ariana Rodriguez

What was the process of qualifying for the Dominican team? “There were three pools made up of eight different countries,” Rodriguez explained. “These pools took place in China, Japan, and Poland. We were placed in China’s pool, which included Serbia, China, ourselves, Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Ukraine, Mexico, and Canada. The top two teams from each pool booked a ticket to the Olympics, there were six spots available for this tournament. Our pool’s favorites were China and Serbia, but we ended up beating both of them, finished the tournament with one loss against Czech Republic, and still finished first in the pool, while Serbia finished second and China did not qualify, but will have another chance at the Volleyball Nations League tournament.

In the months leading up to the Summer Olympics, Rodriguez says she will “continue to train hard here at the University of Miami, take responsibility for every repetition I get in practice, go to the Dominican Republic during my spring break and summer to train with the team, and continue to prepare myself mentally and physically to perform on the biggest stage of them all.”

Ariana Rodriguez
The Olympic Dream

Many children dream of competing on a world stage. Rodriguez was one of those children. “I believe that every child who develops an early passion for their sport dreams of representing their country at the Olympics,” Rodriguez admits. “I remember watching the Dominican Republic in London 2012, Rio 2016, and Tokyo 2020 and just thought to myself, that is a huge life accomplishment that one day I can hopefully achieve. However, I did not think it would have happened so soon at 18 years old and in the next Olympics!”