As an 8th grader, Katie Webster found herself on the varsity lacrosse team at Christian Brothers Academy, little did she know, it was just the first of nine years playing elite lacrosse in Central New York.
CBA coach Doug Sedgwick saw something special in Webster, saying today she was a "big fish in a little pond" at the time, with Webster attributing her confidence as a youngster to Sedgwick's guidance.
"He was the one who said, 'You can go to the goal,' I was a little 8th grader on the team...he gave me the courage to do what I do today," Webster, now a senior at Syracuse University, said.
Soon enough, Webster was one of the top lacrosse players in Central New York, improving not only her own game each season, but helping to make the CBA program better as well. Sedgwick and CBA assistant coach Fran Webster (also Katie's father) say she was a big part in making the Brothers a perennial power.
With any great athlete comes hard work and motivation, something Webster possessed throughout high school and in college. Her family has always been one of the biggest passions of her life, and lucky enough for her, her other passion of lacrosse coincides with that. Her sister Caroline Webster was on her team in high school, and they two continue that bond today on the SU lacrosse team, where Caroline is a sophomore and plays defense on the SU women's lacrosse team.
"Having Caroline on the team has meant a lot to both of them," Fran Webster said. "I know that when Katie comes off the field, Caroline is the first one to say 'good job' and when Caroline gets to play you know Katie is her biggest fan...well maybe not bigger than me, but pretty much."
With Katie playing midfield and Caroline at defense, the two go head-to-head at times during practice, and while the support is there...it gets competitive between the two sisters.
"It's so funny because Caroline goes all out against me, she doesn't even care, and I like it because she's not afraid to play her real game against me," Webster says.
But Katie Webster has always had another passion: winning. Her drive to win over any individual accolade or accomplishment is what makes her, and the teams she'd played on, so successful. She's athletic enough to be an individual star, but being part of a team has always meant more to her.
"When she was younger she figure skated," her father Fran says. "She loved that, but it was an individual sport...a team sport meant a lot more to her, having teammates, working together for a common goal."
With one more regular season game and the NCAA Tournament still to come, Webster has 34 goals and nine assists for the Orange, and is third on the team in points with 43. As she's done throughout her career though, it's the little things on the field, the intangibles which have made her so valuable to the Orange, the second ranked team in the nation.
"They wouldn't be successful right now if it wasn't for her," Sedgwick says. "Her ability and her willingness to do the stuff that most kids don't want to get involved in. I call it 'between the restraining lines', picking up the ground balls, playing good defense, you don't see that in the scorer's column a lot."
With just a few games left in her career, Webster can say she's made it to two final fours as a member of the Orange, but there's still one goal left, a national championship. It's a title she could bring back not only to Syracuse University, but to her Christian Brothers Academy family as well.
"I would just love to bring one home to Syracuse," she says. "It would just be amazing, I'm hoping this is the year, so we'll see."
Katie Webster and the SU women's lacrosse team will hold their senior day in the Carrier Dome on Saturday, when they host Loyola in their regular season final. Face off is scheduled for 1 p.m.