Best and brightest: Success knows no boundaries for Ani Kazarian

Providence Journal , RI
July 18 2004

Best and brightest

Success knows no boundaries for Ani Kazarian

Journal Sports Writer

She heard it time and time again early in her high school career.

If you want to be a high school sports star . . . if you want to be
an All-Stater . . . if you want sports to help write your ticket to
college, you have to specialize, people told Ani Kazarian.

They told her the days of the three-sport superstar were a thing of
the past. They said today’s high school stars pick one sport.

But for Kazarian, sports, like the rest of life, offered too many
exciting opportunities to limit herself at a young age.

So Kazarian, whose great-grandparents immigrated to America to escape
the Armenian genocide, defied the odds and became the all-American

She not only became a three-sport star at Lincoln School, she became a
three-sport All-Stater. She earned Providence Journal first-team
All-State honors in field hockey, ice hockey and lacrosse each of the
past two school years, making her one of the few high school athletes
in Rhode Island history to earn All-State selection in three
nonrelated sports in both their junior and senior years.

She also became an academic all-star. They don’t rank students
academically at Lincoln School, but if they did, Kazarian would have
been near the top of this year’s graduation class. In four years, she
compiled a 3.5 grade-point average in an program loaded with honors
and advanced-placement courses.

Her achievements stretch beyond the classroom, the ice rink, and the
field hockey and lacrosse fields. For the past three summers, she has
traveled to Armenia to serve as a research fellow in a program that
provides financial and social support services to women and the
disabled. Her work earned her selection as a speaker at the United
Nations on the subject of using micro-finance to empower women and
people with disabilities in Armenia and other developing countries.

The combination of academic excellence, athletic achievement and
social involvement has earned Kazarian selection as the 2004
Providence Journal Honor Roll Girl.

Kazarian, a Providence resident and the daughter of Harriet and Paul
Kazarian, becomes the first Lincoln School student to be named Honor
Roll Girl in the 28-year history of the award, which symbolizes the
top female student-athlete in this year’s Rhode Island high school
graduating class.

She went to youth sports camps when she was growing up, and heard all
the discussions about specializing in one sport. But she was having
too much fun playing everything to restrict her activities.

“I always liked all three sports, so I never wanted to choose just
one and focus on it,” said Kazarian. “I had different teammates for
each sport so I had all different groups of teammates and I liked
playing with all three of them.”

It didn’t take her long to earn her first statewide high school
athletic honors: second-team All-State in both field hockey and
lacrosse in her sophomore year.

The following fall, she began her two-year run as a three-sport,
first-team All-Stater with her selection to the top All-State field
hockey team.

In the winter of 2002-03, she was named to The Journal’s first girls
All-State ice hockey team. She was one of the stars of the Rhode
Island Interscholastic League’s inaugural girls hockey league that
winter. She scored 31 points in eight regular-season games, the
second highest total in the league.

In spring 2003, she earned first-team All-State lacrosse honors after
her 29 goals and 7 assists led Lincoln School to its first
Southeastern New England conference championship in 13 years.

The three first-team All-State selections marked the first time a
Lincoln School student had earned first-team All-State honors in each
of the three high school sports seasons.

She didn’t allow her junior year accomplishments to let complacency
slip into her psyche. She came back this year and posted even more
impressive statistics en route to three more All-State selections.
She was the Interscholastic League’s second-leading scorer during the
field hockey season with 16 goals and 11 assists, and was the
league’s regular-season scoring champion in ice hockey with 19 goals
and 10 assists in 12 league games.

She became the first Lincoln School athlete in eight years to earn 12
varsity letters in three sports during her high school career.

“Ani’s accomplishments in athletics are not just solely a result of
her natural talent, but also a demonstration of the desire,
dedication and commitment that she brings to athletics, academics and
community service,” said Ronnie McFarland, the Lincoln School
athletic director and the Lynxes’ lacrosse coach.

The captain of all three teams this year, Kazarian has used her
sports experiences to expand her understanding of life off the field.

“Everybody tells you playing sports teaches you real life lessons,
and it really does,” said Kazarian. “Sports has taught me to be a
team player, but also to be a leader. In order to be a good leader,
you need to be a team player at the same time.”

It’s a philosophy she’s already putting in action helping people in

“I feel what makes our project unique is that we put the social
sector into the business section,” she said. “We look at how
micro-finance organizations can work with social services
organizations to help the disabled and disadvantaged.

“I like helping people. I like it a lot,” said Kazarian. “In field
hockey, it’s great when you score and there’s all the energy. But
when you get off the field you have to put that in perspective.
That’s why I like to do the work in Armenia. It helps me actually put
my life in perspective and see what I can do in the world to make a
difference for someone else.”

She finally will start specializing in field hockey when she becomes
a Brown University student in the fall, but her long-term goals are
still open for exploration. She is considering a dual major in
political science and economics.