Seth Benedict spent his sophomore and junior basketball seasons at Marcus Whitman as a varsity starter, and had big plans for his senior year.
Everything changed once Benedict underwent a foot surgery during football season, which sidelined him through the beginning of basketball.
“Personally, I knew it was going to be a long tough road especially the second time with this injury,” said Benedict. “Not being able to contribute in any way really hurt me because we had been such a tight close group for so long and I wanted to do something, especially my senior year.”
After weeks of physical therapy, he returned to the team unsure of where he fit. The Wildcats went through a slump of losses and ugly wins while trying to figure out the team’s starting five. Benedict took matters into his own hands in the beginning of January, deciding it would be best for him to be the permanent sixth man.
“I sat down with Coach O’Connor and we had a heart to heart about how in basketball the key was consistency,” said Benedict. “You need a definite first five, you need that chemistry out there.”
Greg O’Connor knew in that moment things would turn around for the team.
“What I saw in Seth right there was true leadership, and what team meant to somebody,” said O’Connor. “Seth was the one that made that decision, and even wanted to be the one to tell the team.”
Benedict’s leadership off the bench was evident both in games and practice, challenging his teammates as any opposing starter would. O’Connor felt that intensity pushed every other member of the team.
The consistency returned and all of the hard work paid off when the Wildcats won the program’s first sectional title since 1976, defeating Red Jacket 63-44 in the Class C1 final. It was a long time coming for the Class of 2020, who wanted nothing more than to bring home the brick.
“I remember sitting and watching the North Rose game as a little sixth grader, watching them lose in the semifinals,” said Benedict. “I turned to Liam Prendergast and I said, ‘it’s going to be different when we’re seniors’.
“Winning was a dream come true. It was like finally all of our hard work, dedication, and sweat paid off.”
Benedict will head to Le Moyne College in Syracuse to play Division II lacrosse after graduation.