A rare gem on the Hilltop
Who in their right mind plays three sports in college?
“It’s insane!” says Diamond Boyd ’17 with a laugh. Boyd not only plays three sports—volleyball, basketball, and track and field—she holds a school record in each of them, and she’s earned all-conference honors in all three.
“I’m really bad about just laying around,” she says. “I need to stay busy.”
And she does stay busy. In addition to being a three-sport athlete, she also interns at Mount Vernon Middle School, spends time at the elementary school as part of the Lunch Buddies program, helps as a campus tour guide, and spent last summer managing a Dairy Queen and working at a sports camp. She does all this and still carries a 3.0 grade point average.
“I’m not an amazing student, but I work hard and I stay focused,” says Boyd, a psychology major with a minor in kinesiology.
Boyd came to Cornell from Elk Grove Village, Illinois, where she was a talented high school athlete who received scholarship offers to play college basketball at the Division I level. Instead, she chose Cornell.
“When I came to visit, the coaches emphasized the family aspect here. They told me that my priorities should be family, school, sports, in that order. I felt they really cared about me as an individual,” she recalls. “When I first got here, I was really homesick and I was very close to transferring. Now I can’t imagine being anywhere else. The community here made me feel welcome. Now, it’s like a whole other family.”
Boyd says she was infatuated with sports from an early age, and her coaches in Elk Grove Village were mentors and role models.
“I think it’s important for kids to have relationships with adults other than their parents,” she says. “I want to be a school counselor and a coach. Kids have so much pressure these days. I want to give them what my coaches gave me. In my internship at the middle school, I’m working with the counseling staff and I really enjoy it.”
As an athlete recruited to play D-1 basketball, does she ever regret not pursuing the sport at that level?
“No, I don’t. I have friends who got scholarships to play at that level. Some of them tell me that they’re often considered to be ‘just athletes.’ Here, I’m me. I’m Diamond. I’m a student and a person and an athlete.”
Her favorite sport? “It’s really hard to choose between volleyball and basketball,” she says. “In volleyball you get a chance to celebrate with your teammates after each point. I think basketball is more like my personality, getting into the flow of the game and enjoying it without thinking about it. Each sport teaches me something different, and the mentality of each team is different.”
While Boyd has spent a lot of time on the court and on the field, she says some of her most important lessons have come from interacting with coaches, peers, faculty, staff, and even local community members.
“I’ve really grown here at Cornell,” she says. “I’ve learned to open up a lot, and I try to see things from other people’s perspectives. Since I was homesick during my first days on campus, I try extra hard to be friends with new students, to make them feel comfortable, and to help them share the family feeling I got. I also tell them that the staff here won’t let you give up on yourself.”