March 28, 2008

Seibald Hopes to Lead Red Back to Final Four

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It isn’t often that one of the top players on a Division I lacrosse team is willing to admit that his older sister used to fight his battles for him when he was in a pinch.
“She was always my protector,” Seibald said. “If anyone messed with me, she would beat them up”
And although he claims he’s capable of taking care of himself these days, he’s also willing to admit that he’s happy they live in the same apartment building on campus, just in case he needs a little backup.
“We actually live in the same apartment building so if I ever need some food she is only a couple steps away,” Seibald said.
After starting 14 times his sophomore campaign, becoming the first Cornell lacrosse player to be nominated for the Tewaaraton Trophy and becoming co-captain his junior season, it might seem surprise to think these accomplishments began when six-year-old Seibald spent a summer at sleep-away camp.
“It was just a regular sleep away camp with all different types of sports. … They had lacrosse as one of the activities,” Seibald said. “I just picked up a stick and started playing.”
Add to that the utter lack of lacrosse teams in his hometown of Hewlett, N.Y., and the fact that he played a variety of other sports competitively all the way through high school, it’s not much of a leap to suggest that Seibald was simply cut out to play lacrosse.
Starting off his freshman year on the right path, Seibald earned All-American second team honors, becoming the third Cornell freshmen to ever receive All-American recognition. As a sophomore, the midfielder helped lead his team to an Ivy League championship and assisted the winning goal to push past Albany into the Final Four where Cornell lost to Duke.
“After we scored that last goal [against Albany], it was a great feeling with family, alumni and friends in the stands,” Seibald said. “To come away with that win was just outstanding … it is one of my best memories of Cornell lacrosse.”
When most athletes name a role model it tends to be either a deserving parent or an inspirational professional athlete. Seibald, however, feels that he owes much of his success to Cornell and to former teammate Joe Boulukos ’06.
“He was my host on my recruiting visit,” Seibald said. “He took me in under his wing. He kind of molded me into the person I am today, and the player I am today.”
Although there are high expectations for this year’s squad to be successful, more than just high quality lacrosse will be demanded from Seibald. In addition to a top-notch level of performance, he has set his sights on improving his leadership skills this year. With the help of his teammates, the coaching staff, and of course, his big sister, Seibald is approaching this season with the commitment and drive to achieve his goals.
“A lot of people, their ultimate goal is wins and losses and obviously my goal is to lead the team to another Ivy League championship and hopefully back to the Final Four,” Seibald said. “But also, it is to personally grow and be as good of a leader as I can and have a good effect on those around me just as those in the past who have had a positive im­pact on me.”