Texas-born Syracuse lacrosse captains reflect on the growth of the sport

Texan Syracuse lacrosse captains reflect on the growth of the sport

Owen Seebold and Megan Carney, two Orange lacrosse captains, learned the traditionally Northeast sport in the South.
Published: March 24, 2022
Freshman Tyler Cordes and Senior Captain Owen Seebold check a Johns Hopkins defender -- SU vs. Johns Hopkins - Lacrosse - March 13, 2022 - Baltimore, Maryland
Owen Seebold (middle right), pictured here against Johns Hopkins, is one of three Texas-born players on Syracuse's men's team.

Though other sports were more popular in their home state of Texas, one of the first things Owen Seebold and Megan Carney learned to pick up was a lacrosse stick.

In their time as college players at Syracuse University, Seebold and Carney, captains of the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams respectively, said they’ve seen the game grow to levels they never thought possible when they began playing.

Seebold said he learned the sport from his father and has played since he was young. His dad, Robert Seebold, played for the Orange in the 1980s. The two traveled to Syracuse games, which grew Seebold’s love for the game as a child.

But there wasn’t a lot of opportunity for Seebold, who grew up in Dallas, Texas, to play the sport in the South. To raise the profile of the game in the state, Seebold said that his father formed youth leagues in the area.

“That’s kind of the whole thing. My dad started that youth league down there,” Seebold said. “So he got a lot of my friends and their parents on board, you know, just to try out this sport that was kind of growing across the country and new to Dallas and Texas so they all kind of bought in.”

Seebold said that since he started playing, he has seen the game grow exponentially across the west coast. He said that there are a large number of players from that part of the country now playing at schools across the nation. One example he pointed towards is Maryland defender Ajax Zappitello, who hails from Oregon.

“Now, there’s a lot of guys who graduated college and then moved down there to coach and they’ll build programs,” Seebold said. “So there’s been great growth in the game. Obviously, it’s grown a lot. You see more and more kids not just from Texas.”

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Seebold, pictured here against Army, has scored 37 goals with the Orange over four and a half seasons.

Carney represents Texas on Syracuse’s women’s team. She said she’s not only excited about lacrosse’s growth in her home state but that she’s especially excited to see more girls and women picking up the game.

During her time as a young player in McKinney, Texas, Carney said she played on a boys’ team until she was in sixth grade because there was no program for girls. Looking at Texas now, she can see how much the game has grown to embrace female players.

“It has grown so much compared to when I was younger,” Carney said. “If you look at all the girls that have gone from Texas and have gone and played in college, there’s so many, which is just a testament to the coaches out there and just how much the sport has grown.”

Carney said that she hopes to be a role model for younger players in Texas, and she wants kids to experience as much fun as possible so that they stick with lacrosse.

Carney and Seebold are not the only players to take note of the rapid growth of the game. Kayla Treanor, the SU women’s lacrosse coach, and a former Syracuse player, said that the number of girls coming from the Midwest proves the game is growing.

“We really want to grow the game geographically,” Treanor said. “And it’s huge for girls in Texas to grow up and know that they one day can come and play at Syracuse, a top program in the country, just like Megan Carney did.”

Megan Carney vs. Syracuse 2021
Megan Carney (right), pictured here against Stony Brook in 2021, has 118 goals in four seasons with the Orange.