Baltimore Sun

Siblings share their success stories

Sydney and Corey Watson started as rivals, but they have come to support each other

- By Edward Lee

As children, Sydney and Corey Watson did what siblings usually do. They challenged each other, competed against each other, and dared each other.

One of their more frequent games was one that Sydney called “Odds are.” The game involved Sydney beginning a sentence with “Odds are” and ending it usually with a food challenge. Then the siblings would call out a number between 1 and 10 at the same time, and if the numbers matched, Corey had to complete the dare.

Their most infamous memory? Corey dropping a piece of his macaroni and cheese in his cup of milk and then drinking the milk.

“I will always remember that because I would have gagged,” Sydney said while laughing.

Corey’s recollecti­on was not as jovial.

“It wasn’t a very fun game for me because I didn’t get anything out of it,” he said with a chuckle. “… I don’t know why she liked it that much.”

That childhood is one of many building blocks for the Watson siblings, who grew up in Prince Frederick in Calvert County and have forged varying degrees of success in their athletic pursuits.

After an All-American lacrosse career at Connecticu­t, Sydney, 23, is one of 56 players of the Athletes Unlimited profession­al lacrosse league and played last week for a team captained by former Boston College All-American midfielder Dempsey Arsenault. Watson and her teammates went 1-2 in three games last week at USA Lacrosse headquarte­rs in Sparks.

Corey, 21, is a soon-to-be senior midfielder for the Stevenson men’s lacrosse program. But he is beginning to excel as a budding standout in powerlifti­ng.

And watching them with equal amounts of pride are their parents, Kerry and Teresa Watson, retired police officers.

“After watching them play, it’s hard to put into words,” said Kerry Watson Jr., a 51-yearold regional vice president of government­al affairs for MGM Resorts. Teresa Watson, 53, is a safety advocate at Huntingtow­n High School. “One of the things I’ve always tried to encourage with them is the idea that there is nothing that doesn’t belong to them, nothing in this world is unavailabl­e to them if they want to pursue it.”

Sports has been a central part of the Watson siblings’ lives. Sydney was a talented soccer player before she decided to concentrat­e solely on lacrosse before her sophomore year at Calvert High School. Corey began ice skating as early as he can remember and took up ice hockey until he was 11, dove into soccer through middle school and then turned to lacrosse in high school.

Athletics has also been the foundation for their feisty natures. Sydney attempted to best her brother during games of hockey on the family’s driveway, while Corey tried to score goals against his sister in soccer and lacrosse in the backyard.

“We started off as the normal brother-sister who would argue all of the time,” Sydney said. “We were super competitiv­e. Anything he did, I wanted to do, and vice versa. … We’re definitely still competitiv­e now. If you talk to him, he’ll probably say that he taught me everything I know because he loves to say that.”

Corey called his sister “an incredible athlete.” But as a member of the coed middle school soccer team, he said he chafed under the weight of comparison­s to Sydney.

“It was really cool at first to be Sydney Watson’s brother, but the joke kind of got

old,” he said. “So I kind of wanted to make a name for myself instead of just being Sydney Watson’s brother.”

Sydney and Corey said their relationsh­ip turned from competitiv­e to collaborat­ive when Sydney began attending Connecticu­t. She said the distance made them fonder of each other.

Corey said he became his sister’s No. 1 fan while attending her college debut against Syracuse on Feb. 9, 2018, and watching her rack up four goals, one assist and eight draw controls.

“From then on, I was like, ‘OK, I’m Team Sydney now. There’s no more competing,’ ” he said. “Most people see Sydney as a celebrity, this lacrosse star. But I see her as my sister and another support system that I have, and she has really grown into that title. I can truly count on her for anything.”

Greg Harris, who has trained Sydney since she was 8 and Corey since he was a freshman in high school, said although their approaches to working out differed, their focus was the same.

“To see where they are, they are mirror images of one another when it comes to being determined to be the best,” said Harris, founder of GH3D Performanc­e. “Whatever sport they play and whatever arena they’re in, you’re going to notice them right away.”

Although he followed his sister into lacrosse, Corey has emerged as a competitiv­e powerlifte­r in the 220-pound weight class. Since immersing himself in the sport in the winter of 2018, he finished last year ranked second in the world in the deadlift at 307.5 kilograms (677.9 pounds), tied for seventh in the squat at 242.5 kilograms (534.6 pounds) and 11th in the bench press at 155 kilograms (341.7 pounds).

“It’s definitely surreal because most people

wouldn’t have expected it,” he said of his success in powerlifti­ng. “But I kind of had an idea once I really started lifting that I was above average. So I always thought I could do something special.”

In three seasons at Stevenson where he is majoring in business administra­tion, Watson, who is 6 feet 2, has appeared in only four games. But he said he has no issues with his playing time with the Mustangs.

“It really is OK with me because the culture and team at Stevenson make it worth it,” he said. “I can sit on the sideline and have a great time. I can go to practice and have a great time.”

After graduating with a dual bachelor’s degree in crime and justice and human developmen­t and family studies and a minor in psychology, Sydney is planning to apply to the FBI after her lacrosse career. But for now, she will continue to be one of the top players in the world, which she is still grasping.

“There are still no words,” she said. “I never thought this would be an opportunit­y, and now that it is, I just hope that I can be someone that young players can look up to. And even if they think it may not happen for them, I hope they realize anything is possible.”

As busy as they are, the Watson siblings are there for each other. Sydney has requested FaceTime calls from her parents to watch her brother’s lifting competitio­ns. When Sydney’s Athletes Unlimited No. 27 jersey recently became available, Corey asked his parents to get him one in extra large.

Kerry said he and his wife have enjoyed watching their children bond with each other.

“They are both empathetic, they both have a heart,” he said. “They’re not just athletes. They’re genuinely good people.”

 ?? COURTESY ?? Sydney Watson, right, is one of 56 players in the Athletes Unlimited profession­al lacrosse league, while her brother, Corey, is a rising senior midfielder for the Stevenson men’s lacrosse program and an emerging star in powerlifti­ng.
COURTESY Sydney Watson, right, is one of 56 players in the Athletes Unlimited profession­al lacrosse league, while her brother, Corey, is a rising senior midfielder for the Stevenson men’s lacrosse program and an emerging star in powerlifti­ng.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States