Riley Seidel’s collegiate lacrosse experience concluded recently with him celebrating like a champion.
The 2009 St. John’s Jesuit graduate led the University of Colorado to a 13-12 victory over Arizona State in the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association — often referred to as MCLA — national title match.
Seidel scored a team-high four goals and delivered two assists in helping Colorado claim its first men’s lacrosse national title.
He was named the tournament’s most valuable player.
“It hadn’t hit me, but once I got back to Boulder and realized what we’d done, I really couldn’t have asked for a better way to go out,” Seidel said, reflecting on the Colorado championship.
Lacrosse has only 61 NCAA-sanctioned teams, leaving many Division I programs to play at the club level. The MCLA is composed of more than 200 programs divided into two divisions covering 10 conferences.
Seidel, who was one of the top prep lacrosse players in Ohio during his time at St. John’s, finished his collegiate career in the same light. He was named a MCLA All-America first team selection. Furthermore, he was the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference’s most valuable player and offensive player of the year.
The 6-foot-3, 195-pounder closed the season with 96 points after tallying 63 goals and 33 assists as Colorado’s No. 1 attacker. His three-year career at Colorado consisted of him scoring 199 goals and delivering 67 assists.
“I played for three years at Colorado, and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience,” Seidel said. “Boulder was the best town to live in for college.”
Seidel actually started his collegiate career at the Air Force Academy, but he played only one year before deciding to transfer from the Academy after sitting out of competition as a sophomore.
He admits attending the Academy didn’t quite match up with his college-experience expectations.
“It was tough to do both,” said Seidel about playing lacrosse and handling the extra commitments that come with being in the Air Force Academy. “I really respect everyone who does it. It’s a tough life.
“I can always go back to officer’s training school after [undergraduate] college,” Seidel added.
When he decided to leave the Academy, he knew he wanted to still compete in lacrosse. He determined that Colorado would be his next move.
The 23-year-old is graduating this spring with an economics degree and has plans to move to Denver to pursue a career in the business field.
Yet, memories of Colorado winning a national championship don’t figure to fade any time soon.
“Our goal was to come out and give 110 percent effort,” Seidel said. “We felt if we did that, then we would be fine.
“Everyone was just clicking.”
No one seemed to be more in the moment than Seidel.