Daniel Zou ’23 Holds Together Andover Cycling’s Community Through Endless Spirit

Andover Cycling Co-Captain Daniel Zou ’23 came to Andover as a new Upper, where he has brought his love for recreational cycling into a more competitive atmosphere. Zou has found freedom in exploration since he can remember, and has enjoyed transitioning into a different energy of cycling. Since joining the team, Zou has developed connections with his teammates that have lasted through his Andover career.

“One of the things that I think is really important is that everybody feels valued and that they’re part of this community, and we all get to know each other on a personal level because our races are all kind of far away. So we’re in the car for two hours together. So I just think that feeling of belonging that everybody has is really important. If we win or if we do good in our sport, then that’s also a plus. I feel our community is really unique in that we are one of those super competitive teams, but we’re a team where people come and have a good time and just wanna do a sport in the spring that’s fun,” said Zou.

Yuliya Solyanyk ’23 appreciates Zou’s personability with his teammates. Not only does he make it his job to personally connect to each teammate on an individual basis, but Zou also holds together the community with his positivity. Solyanyk specifically highlighted how Zou pushes team’s spirit during and outside of races.

“I feel like Daniel is the type of person who knows how to find the right approach to like anyone on the team. And he has this ability [to] make everyone feel like they belong on the team… I think it’s not an exaggeration to say that our community, the cycling community, is very tight-knit thanks to people like Daniel who could kind of hold the team spirit together,” said Solyanyk.

According to James Davis ’23, Zou’s ability to thrive in his sport while continuing to be modest is greatly appreciated among his teammates. Zou leads the cycling team by example in the sense that he is able to focus on himself when necessary, but also help his teammates when they are in need.

“He’s very expressive and emotionally he likes ‘taking a lot of space,’ but at the same time he’s also very humble. He has a lot of humility and he’s always trying to make space for people,” Davis said.

Not only does Zou bring lighter moments to his team, but he is also able to focus and be competitive when need be. Solyanyk mentioned Zou’s recent move to a higher division for races, truly emphasizing his hard work in practice. 

“I feel like, on top of being a Co-Captain, he also has this kind of responsibility to do his absolute best during races and during every race during every practice. And that’s no wonder why his resilience and kind of this devotion to the sport helped him to move from the category boys C to category boys B, which is [a] more advanced one and represented over during every race was dignity and this confidence,” said Solyanyk.

Zou has found himself bringing many laughs to the team. He motivates his teammates by consistently cheering them on during races, and acting as a vocal captain. 

“[I’m] trying to keep the team motivated by cheering people on, and just having a good time, whether it be making jokes in practice about different things. I say coaches also do that too, but… I bring a humorous kick into the team,” said Zou.