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ALL-AREA LACROSSE: Gedin, Talbert led the teams by example

Asked what makes a lacrosse team successful, some players might say goals and great defense.

Ask Kelsey Gedin and Cheyney Talbert the same question and their answers include leadership and a family atmosphere.

Those qualities helped make Gedin and Talbert The Free Lance–Star’s lacrosse players of the year.

Starting in goal for Fredericksburg Academy, Gedin was a three-time All-Delaney Conference selection, first-team all-state and recorded a .568 save percentage as a senior.

Talbert scored 50 goals and recorded 32 assists as a senior midfielder for North Stafford and was named Conference 15 player of the year and an all-5A North Zone first-team selection.

A NATURAL IN THE NET

Gedin had no idea what lacrosse was before her family moved to Virginia and she enrolled at Fredericksburg Academy. Her older brother played the sport and let her practice with one of his sticks, helping her passion for the sport grow.

In the sixth grade, Gedin joined her school’s team as goalie and her passion took off. Gedin’s efforts almost carried the Falcons to their first Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association final four.

Gedin admits she had to adjust to having to direct her defense.

“I was definitely not a very vocal and aggressive player at first,” Gedin said, “which is something needed to be an effective leader on the field.

“It took a little time in the beginning getting used to having those responsibilities but as I got older I grew into that role.”

Fredericksburg Academy coach Walter Hoffman first saw Gedin play in seventh grade. He recalls her getting “bombarded with shots” and making save after save.

“It was pretty incredible,” he said.

Hoffman agrees Gedin was not comfortable with all the responsibilities that come with being a goalie.

“Kelsey is exceptionally humble and soft-spoken. She really needed to work at allowing herself to be a leader,” Hoffman said. “Her teammates looked to her during games to lead us but it wasn’t until this year she became a more active leader.

“While her teammates naturally follow Kelsey, she would rather be part of the group than singled out. This year [as a senior] she left her comfort zone to be a more vocal leader. She accepted the role and excelled in it. Her teammates wanted to follow her so it wasn’t as difficult as I think she thought it would be.”

After being accepted into Columbia University, Gedin was invited to attend walk-on tryouts and was recently told she made the team.

“I can’t express how excited I am about playing the sport I love for a great coach and team at my dream school,” she said.

Gedin knows playing collegiately will be a challenge, but she’s embracing it.

“The ball will be coming at a much faster pace and with better placement. I will need to continue doing a lot of hand–eye coordination drills and footwork drills. Playing goalie has a lot to do with mental preparedness. A lot of the time you can get caught up in a goal or feeling like you lost the game. So I have to work on keeping calm and focusing on the next shot and opportunity rather than dwelling on the past.”

TALBERT REACHED GOALS

Talbert had a short answer for what goes through his mind when he gets the ball: “All I think about is what I can do to benefit the team.”

But Talbert rarely uses the word ‘team’ to describe his North Stafford teammates. He prefers to call them family.

“I think it’s a combination of a great coaching staff, the older players’ willingness to help and teach younger players, and the team always becoming a family and taking in new players,” he said.

Veteran North Stafford coach Fred Donahoe knew there was something special about Talbert when he arrived as a freshman.

“He has always been looked up to as a team leader because his lacrosse skill was advanced from the time he showed up,” Donahoe said. “What was nice was watching him make his teammates around him better because he is a selfless player and understands that teamwork is what it’s all about.”

Donahoe said during practices, Talbert set the bar high for the team’s overall work ethic.

“Even though he already knew more about how to play the game and was better at executing the skills than most players, he was still the hardest worker at the drills on a consistent basis every day in practice,” Donahoe said. “When your best player is your hardest worker, no one else has an excuse to slack off and it sets the tone for the team’s work ethic.”

The Wolverines lost to Broad Run in the quarterfinals of the 5A North Zone tournament, ending his high school career.

“When the game was over I had a realization that my playing at North Stafford was over, but I have had an amazing past four years with the North Stafford lacrosse family,” he said.

Talbert will continue his career next season at Division I Maryland–Baltimore County.

“The best advice I gave Cheyney was to go to college in shape so he didn’t have to worry about the conditioning,” said Donahoe. “His game will take care of itself as long as he trusts in himself and continues to make his teammates better like he did in high school.”

Gabby Buehrle: 540/374-5440

gbuehrle@freelancestar.com

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/hsfb/2014/07/01/all-area-lacrosse-gedin-talbert-led-the-teams-by-example/

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