UCF junior Loren Cory is accustomed to standing out in a crowd. At an imposing 6’5″, the Queensland, Australia, native is the tallest female athlete participating in any sport at UCF and the ninth-tallest student-athlete overall, male or female.
Cory’s height caught the eye of the UCF coaching staff in 2010 and they offered her a scholarship as a transfer athlete after a single season at Camosun College in Victoria, British Columbia. Three years later, Cory is a starter and key contributor to the volleyball program on the court.
Off the court, the Advertising and Public Relations major continues to be recognized for her size. Before the 2013 season began, Cory and the rest of her UCF volleyball teammates traveled to a local bowling alley for an evening of exciting team-building activities. While at the event, the squad ran into the UCF spirit program, also holding a similar function at the same venue. The two teams thought it would be clever to snap a photo of Cory and her 6’4″ freshman teammate Taylor Wickey, with UCF’s shortest cheerleader, 4’7″ ½ Sammie Litten in the middle.
“It was just a neat thing to do,” Cory said. “Obviously we had no idea that the picture was going to take on a life of its own like it did on social media. We were just out having fun as a team and supporting the other UCF student-athletes.”
The picture was tweeted out that evening by both @UCF_Volleyball and @UCF_CheerTeam and immediately went viral, making rounds on various social media outlets. The picture’s digital footprint expanded dramatically when it was picked up by sports digital media company, Bleacher Report, and tweeted out to its 354,000+ followers. This prompted hundreds of retweets and favorites of the photo that many viewers suspected was an optical illusion.
The attention on Cory and the others prompted FOX 35 invited all three athletes to take part in an in-studio interview on their Good Day Orlando morning show.
“I love volleyball so much,” Cory said. “But beyond that I love that I was able to use my height to be able to connect to fans and children out there that maybe are not totally comfortable in their own skin. I like to show people that it’s OK to stand out from the crowd. I know all about that because I’m 6’5″ and I always stand out in a crowd!”
One of the more little-known facts about Cory that helps her stand out is her love of jazz music. She was an avid trombone player throughout her youth and continues to listen and take inspiration from the genre to this day. It’s even to the point where Cory will pass on more traditional choices of pregame hype music for a more soothing sound.
“I played trombone for nine years in school and I love jazz music,” Cory said. “One of my favorite artists is Michael Buble. I really love his song “Moondance.” It was one of the first songs of his I heard and I fell in love with his music immediately.”
The connection Cory has with Buble’s music comes from Cory’s time spent in Canada. Buble, a British Columbia native himself, has had multiple albums crack the top 10 of the Canadian albums chart, including a No. 1 record at the exact time Cory was blossoming as a player at Camosun College.
Where does a volleyball-playing, jazz-loving student athlete draw her motivation?
“My parents are my role models and my inspiration because they have always supported me no matter where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do,” Cory said. “No matter if it was volleyball or playing the jazz trombone, they always made sure I worked hard by telling me, ‘If it was easy, everyone would do it.'”