Favorite athlete: Carlos Ruiz
Favorite team: Phillies
Favorite memory competing in sports: Tying North Penn this year was really awesome. We ended the game tied 1-1, and after an overtime period, that’s how the score would stay. As a team, we really clicked that game, and we’re going to take that momentum into the second half of the season. I also enjoy the team singing of the alma mater on the way home from every away game!
Most embarrassing/funniest thing that has happened while competing in sports: After switching to goalie, I didn’t know all the fundamentals of the position. At field hockey camp, the goalie coach was attempting to teach me how to stack. I had no clue what I was doing, but I finally got the hang of it, and she asked me to practice ‘live’ on her as she dribbled towards me. Not only did I stack the ball, but I knocked her over as well!
Music on iPod: A lot of country, definitely a lot of country music.
Future plans: Attend law school after college and become a prosecutor.
Words to live by: ‘Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.’
One goal before turning 30: Sky dive – I feel like after that I’ll worry too much about getting hurt!
One thing people don’t know about me: I love pasta. I could eat noodles three meals a day, seven days a week. There is no better pregame dinner than spaghetti and meat sauce or homemade mac and cheese. With three athletes living at home still, we always have carb-loaded dinners! I’m definitely going to miss Gomar’s homemade mac and cheese in college.
By Mary Jane Souder
Sarah Seiler is a selfless athlete
The Pennridge senior willingly puts the team’s needs in front of her own desires. Consider only Seiler’s response when midway through last year’s preseason the Rams suddenly found themselves down to one goalie with no prospects for a backup anywhere in site.
“We had two girls so everyone thought it would be fine, but one girl decided she didn’t want to play anymore and that left us with one goalie who was a sophomore,” Seiler recalled. “The team was really nervous, and our coach didn’t want to go through the season with one girl.
“I watched a girl volunteer who was a varsity forward. I had enough common sense to know the team really needed her on the field, not in the cage. I was already back there as sweeper, and I could tell the rest of the team was really hesitant.”
Seiler volunteered to give it a try.
“We put her in pads, someone took a shot at her, and she charged the ball,” coach Nikki Thren said. “That’s something you can’t usually find in kids – someone who is willing to take a hit.”
In truth, Seiler wasn’t especially fond of taking a hit, but she was not about to watch the varsity lose a potential goal scorer to the cage.
“I was like, ‘There’s no way that’s going to happen. Let me try first, and if I epically fail, then maybe she can try it out, but let’s see how it goes,’” Seiler said. “It was very nerveracking at first. I was really afraid to have balls hit at me, but then I got the hang of it. It just became second nature.
“The team was really supportive and encouraged me to try it and see what happened. It worked out. I loved it.”
“Day in and day out, she was always, ‘What can I do better?’” Thren said. “She had a great attitude about it.
“At the end of the season, she said, ‘Should I go back to being a field player? What should I do?’ We left it up to her, still saying ‘We can’t guarantee playing time,’ and she chose to stick it out and keep working.”
“She didn’t pressure me at all,” Seiler said of Thren. “She said it was totally up to me and that she would love if I stayed with it, but she didn’t want to tell me what to do.
“I stuck with it, and I love it this year.”
This past summer Seiler went to team camp as a goalie for the first time.
“That really helped me and taught me the things I should have been learning the whole time,” she said.
Seiler’s ‘team first’ approach is rare, and when this season rolled around, it made the senior goalie a natural choice for captain.
“I wasn’t expecting the captaincy at all,” she said. “That was totally out of the blue for me, and I was totally honored by that – that the team supported me that much.”
Seiler’s selfless approach has not gone unnoticed by her teammates. Last year, she received the team’s Unsung Hero Award.
“That was really comforting that the team noticed that I stepped up for them last year,” she said.
Although voted a captain, Seiler still has to earn her playing time this year.
“The goalies know it’s kind of a day-to-day basis,” Thren said. “Who’s going to perform? Who’s going to come out and play?”
Seiler found herself in a starting role when the league games began, and whether on or off the field, she is the consummate leader.
“If somebody says, ‘I forgot my shinguards,’ she’s rooting through her goalie bag to see if she has some,” Thren said. “If she sees someone who’s upset, she’s checking on them. She’s bending over backwards to really help people.
“I know that it’s been hard. She’s come to me a few times not knowing where she will play, but it’s amazing how she puts that aside and takes on the duties of a captain and a leader. She and the other two captains will sit down at the end of practice and talk about how they want to make things better. She’s an excellent leader, and she’s a great communicator between players and me as well.”
Leading comes naturally for Seiler, who has been involved in student government since she was in middle school and is an active member of student council.
“I love it,” Seiler said. “I wouldn’t be who I am without student council. I love helping people and bettering our school.”
It was Seiler – although only a sophomore – taking the initiative to start Pennridge’s annual ‘Pink Out’ event at a football game.
“My brother – Kiefer Brown – is in my grade, and I never miss his games, so I went to CB West with my family to watch a game,” she recalled. “We were there for their ‘Pink Out.’
“I really liked the idea, and two close family friends had been diagnosed with breast cancer right around the time of that game.”
Seiler went back to school and suggested Pennridge hold a ‘Pink Out’ as well.
“Student Council was like, ‘If you want to do it, go ahead,’ so I did,” she said. “We threw one together in about a month.”
Seiler is planning her third annual ‘Pink Out’ for Oct. 19. All the money is donated locally to Grand View Hospital.
“I’m introducing younger student council members to my contacts, so hopefully when I graduate, they will be able to continue the tradition,” she said.
Seiler’s extracurricular involvements don’t begin and end with Student Council. An excellent student, she is an active member of the National Honor Society and Key Club, and her course load includes all honors classes with two AP classes.
She volunteers as an umpire and assistant coach in Deep Run’s youth softball program, and last year she volunteered at the Organ Donor Awareness Walk in Philadelphia. She also holds down a part-time job at a local restaurant.
“When I saw all she was involved in, I said, ‘Where do you have time for school?’” Thren said. “When you have someone like that, you can take a breath of fresh air and just hope some of the other players can see that and strive to be like that as well.”
The University of Pittsburgh is Seiler’s top college choice, and she plans to major in political science with her sights set on attending law school and pursuing a career as a prosecuting attorney.
Seiler laughs when asked how she became interested in a career in law.
“It sounds crazy, but my grandmother is an avid watcher of Law and Order, and I think I have seen every episode ever created of the show,” she said. “I just fell in love with the courtroom scenes, and I knew I wanted to be a prosecutor.”
Although she has no plans to play hockey at the collegiate level, Seiler, who grew up also playing softball and basketball, admits she cannot imagine life without sports.
“It definitely would be hard to leave sports behind,” she said. “I still struggle with my knee pains, and the doctor said the only way for that to go completely away is to cool it with the sports.
“I would see myself trying to play intramural or club sports. I definitely didn’t base my college choice around sports. I let academics choose that for me, but I would love to continue playing.”