Three pairs of siblings put state threepeat within Hereford's grasp

May 12, 2010|By Glenn Graham, The Baltimore Sun

The Hereford boys lacrosse team was on its way to another comfortable win this season when senior Ben Seider hurried off the field as the Bulls changed their midfield line.

He arrived at the sideline with a curious smile.

Seider, whose crisp pass had set up a goal just seconds earlier, chirped, "That kid is getting to be a star — it's the last time I assist him on anything!"

"That kid" wasn't just anybody. It was freshman attackman Joe Seider, Ben's younger brother who went on to score three goals in the team's win over South River that night.

Sibling rivalry can help bring a team together as well as stir the competitive pot. At Hereford, which has won two straight state championships and is gearing up for a third, the No. 8 Bulls are working with a quality batch.

In addition to the Seider brothers, the team also features brother tandems Rustin and Freddy Bryant and Nick and Will Bittner.

They all compete hard and support one another harder. They joke around and push one another. And, first and foremost, the six have helped create a team bond that has produced a 14-1 regular season, another Baltimore County championship and a plan for a state threepeat.

"I think having all the sets of brothers makes everybody closer," said Will Bittner, a sophomore midfielder in his first year on varsity. "It helps with team chemistry. We enjoy the good times that much more, and it gets us through the tough times a little easier because we're so close. It's fun, just really fun for all of us."

When coach Brian King finalized his roster going into the season, he easily recognized the similar traits each of the brother pairs shared. But he also found each to be different, bringing their own contributions to the team.

Rustin Bryant, who earned second-team All-Metro honors last season and is leading the Bulls in scoring again this season with 55 goals and 39 assists, is the team's polished, standout attackman in his third varsity season. Freddy Bryant, a sophomore, is his older brother's understudy who is steadily finding his own niche in his first year on varsity.

Ben Seider, a two-year varsity player, is a fiery competitor who does the grinding, unheralded work (57 ground balls) that helps win games as a defensive midfielder. With 33 goals and 11 assists, Joe Seider has found instant success on attack, just happy to be on varsity with an "aw shucks" freshman manner.

The Bittner brothers — Nick is a junior and Will a sophomore — are the closest in age among the three pairs, and it's apparent. They've played on many of the same teams, and both work in the midfield. They have learned to make the most of their competitive ways toward each other on the lacrosse field, but things can still get a bit testy when playing video games at home.

"I think the situation in itself is neat and unique, but what's really cool is seeing the older brothers include the younger brothers in things they do," King said. "And with that, you see how much the younger brothers totally adore the older brothers. All their friends have merged, so we don't have any cliques or different class struggles. Having three sets of brothers has helped bridge the divide."

It has also helped maintain the high standard that has long been entrenched at Hereford. In going 19-1 last year, the team captured its second straight Class 3A-2A state crown and fifth in program history. In capturing its second straight straight Baltimore County championship on Thursday — with a 15-4 win over Towson — the Bulls have outscored their 15 opponents by a 206-69 margin this season. They have lost just four games in the past three years, this season falling to Fallston, 11-10, on March 26.

"I think the key to our team is we play for each other and we're all real competitive," Ben Seider said. "Everyone just wants to win here. The past couple years, we've built something special, and each senior class wants to prove they're good enough to win it all."

Freddy Bryant will tell you it hasn't been easy trying to live up to the success of his older brother, Rustin. One distinct advantage he has taken advantage of is having Rustin around this season. Rustin, who is set to play at Maryland next year, regularly takes Freddy aside to discuss game situations, and shares his crafty moves with one-on-one play at home.

"He's set a great example for me, and I've learned a lot from him this year," Freddy said. "This is the first time we've really played together, and it's brought us a lot closer."

A 3-inch growth spurt in the past year has Joe Seider at 6 feet 1 and seeing eye to eye with his older brother, Ben — and he might even be a bit taller.

"He doesn't like that too much," Joe said, laughing. "When we get mad at each other, I usually tell him that I'm taller. But he stills has a few pounds on me, so he can still take me."

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