Carlie Rzeszotarski was looking for a place that would challenge her both in the classroom and on the court, and she believes she found it in Colgate University.
The junior volleyball star, who led Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake to a state championship in 2019, informed Raiders coach Ryan Baker Wednesday afternoon that she will be heading to the Hamilton campus in the fall of 2022.
“I love everything about Colgate,” the 16-year-old Rzeszotarski said.
Rzeszotarski was recruited by numerous colleges from across the country, and after much consideration, had narrowed her final list to the University at Albany, Dartmouth, West Point, Connecticut and Patriot League member Colgate.
“Academics was the No. 1 priority,” said Rzeszotarski, who earned a 97 class average in the first quarter this school year. “I asked coach Baker about the alumni and where they are now and about their careers, and I was so impressed. A degree from Colgate says a lot in the career world.”
Rzeszotarski has many interests and isn’t yet certain what academic avenue she will take in her collegiate career.
“She made an amazing choice, she is getting an amazing package and she is going to an amazing school,” Burnt Hills volleyball coach Gary Bynon said. “Colgate is in one of the top academic leagues in the country.”
Rzeszotarski, a 6-foot-1 outside hitter, expects to be pushed academically as well as athletically at Colgate.
“Coach Baker said if it was 10 years ago, I would walk in and be one of the top players right away,” Rzeszotarski said. “The program is definitely on an upward swing, and I’ll have to work for my spot.”
“She wants to work hard every day,” Bynon said. “At Colgate she’ll get competition in an academic environment and in the gym.”
The 2019 PrepVolleyball.com New York Player of the Year will join a Colgate volleyball team that did not compete this fall after the Patriot League called off sports due to COVID-19 concerns. New York high school volleyball teams also canceled their fall slates.
“I love volleyball,” Rzeszotarski said. “I am looking forward to playing again.”
During the 2019 season, when Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake went 31-5 and tied a school record for victories, Colgate won the Patriot League regular season title at 15-1, and went 24-8 overall after a loss in the National Invitational Volleyball Championship quarterfinals.
“They have one of the top programs in the league,” Bynon said. “They are consistently in the top four in their league.”
Rzeszotarski said she is looking forward to her college adventure.
“Talking to some of the girls there had a lot to do with my decision,” Rzeszotarski said. “They talked so passionately about Colgate, and how happy they are to be there.”
Rzeszotarski climbed to No. 2 on the Burnt Hills single-season kill list with 523 in 2019. Her last 19 kills came in the state Class A title match, when the Spartans swept West Irondequoit in three games.
Rzeszotarski also collected 278 defensive digs, 52 aces and 46 assists as a sophomore, when she was tabbed the state tournament’s most valuable player and the Suburban Council’s top player. She also secured a spot on the New York Volleyball Coaches Association all-state Class A first team.
“She is one of the best high school players ever to play in this area,” Bynon said.