GIRLS BASKETBALL: Mountain View’s Newhart To Join Military
KINGSLEY — She could have been a starting soccer goalie in college.
Maybe a nice piece to add to a Division III basketball program.
But Mountain View’s Sydney Newhart has made a choice to take the next step of her life in a different direction.
Come July, the talented two-sport Lady Eagles standout will join the military, heading for Parris Island, South Carolina, for basic training in the Marine Corps.
“My grandma got really sick last year,” the 5-foot-11 senior said. “She was diagnosed with stomach cancer and within a month she was in hospice care.
“Going into the Marines was the last thing I told her before she passed away, and that’s the main reason why I’m sticking with it.”
Like family, commitment is important for the 18-year-old, who will lead her team into the District 2 Class 2A quarterfinals Tuesday night against rival Elk Lake. The game will tip at 7 p.m. at Tunkhannock Area High School.
“Before I made my decision, my older sister helped me try to find a college, but she never pushed me into college,” Newhart said. “She told me to do what I want.
“Going into the military, she was 100 percent — that’s what you should do.”
Her parents were behind her, too. In fact, her mother nearly chose the same career path before a late change of mind, Newhart said.
“I’ve always been interested in going into the military,” Newhart said. “I thought it would suit me pretty well since I’m so athletic and the Marine Corps is such an athletic branch.”
She’s shown off those athletic skills as a soccer goalie, earning Lackawanna League Division II first-team all-star honors, and on the court, where she leads the Lady Eagles in scoring at 11.4 points per game.
“She has the ability to... let’s say there is a game or a practice where, in her mind, she is not as successful as she wants to be,” Mountain View coach Ashley Kilmer said. “She has the ability to come right back at it the next day with a smile on her face, ready to work.
“I remember watching Syd play when she was in fifth- or sixth-grade intramurals and I knew, ‘that kid’s got it.’ To do something so selfless like to join the marines, it just speaks to her character.”
Newhart not only excels for the Lady Eagles in uniform, but in the classroom, too. A high-honor roll student, the idea of college appealed less when she considered the possibility of coming out of school without a job and with piles of college debt.
And after military service, college could still be an option.
“I can go and do something I like and keep being athletic,” Newhart said. “If I decided I wanted to go to college, they could pay for it. Or I could learn a skill for free and be able to do it in the civilian world and get paid for it.
“Ever since I was little I was told I could do whatever I wanted, one or the other.”
Now that it’s the marines, Newhart sees her sports background as an avenue to success there, too.
“I think I have a good mindset,” Newhart said. “I’m mentally tough. And I think that’s what it’s mostly about. The physical things will come, but if you’re already mentally tough, you’ve already won half the battle.
“I, 100 percent, would not be who I am without sports. I think it taught me toughness that nothing else in life could have. Overcoming so many things on the court and it helped with things that were happening in life. I was able to take it out in sports. It’s a good channel for anything.”
This season, she’ll enter the playoffs at 100 percent. An ankle sprain slowed her last postseason, but didn’t sideline her as the Lady Eagles reached the semifinal round.
“I just taped it up and kept playing,” Newhart said. “It was all messed up. The doctor said I should have taken a week off.”
That’s not part of her makeup, and the goal in her final season is simple.
“My goal since I was a freshman is to get to Mohegan Sun just once,” Newhart said of the site of all 11 district finals. “I think it would be an incredible experience playing in that type of arena. Being from such a small school, playing in an arena like that would be unforgettable.”
Likewise, the example Newhart has given her teammates will not be soon forgotten.
“I guess one of the best things about having a player of this caliber is using her influence for the younger kids,” Kilmer said. “She’s able to mold and shape that next generation. We hope that even though she’s moving on, her influence is still with us.”
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