This is a printer-friendly version of an article from Zip06.com.07/26/2023 10:32 AM
When Guilford senior Liam Alberti attended his school’s end-of-year 62nd Annual Senior Sports Awards Program, sponsored by the Guilford Sideliners, he said he came prepared to pick up his Scholar Athlete Award after being notified he was selected to receive the honor. However, the senior left the ceremony with the award and another prestigious honor: Male Athlete of the Year.
“At the end (of the program) there was an Athlete of the Year award that I had no idea about and when they called it they said “a three-sport captain,” and I was thinking I was in contention for that because I didn’t know any other three-sport captains at the time, I was really excited,” Liam says.
The senior, who served as captain for the football, wrestling and boys’ lacrosse teams, was named Guilford High School Male Athlete of the Year for his exceptional performances on the field, in the classroom and with his leadership qualities. These traits have caught the eye of teammates and coaches, including boys lacrosse’ Head Coach Brian White.
“(Liam) leads in multiple ways by example, through healthy behaviors and he’s positive,” White says. “He doesn’t knock kids down for no reason. He tries to pick them up and he will do some of the hard work of pointing out when guys aren’t doing what they’re supposed to do. He’s a team player in every sense of the word. Those kids are worth their weight in gold.”
As a Guilford Grizzly, Liam was named All-Conference in lacrosse and wrestling, as well as All-State in wrestling. He was also named 2023 Lacrosse Team MVP and picked up the Coaches Award in football and wrestling his senior year.
“It’s great to see hard work and dedication pay off,” the senior says.
Not only did he excel on the competition circuit for all three sports, but Liam also put forth the effort to be a great leader, as the senior said he led differently depending on the make-up of the team to ensure the group’s success. He said lacrosse was one area in which his determination and effort was most rewarding, due to the team’s climb from just a three-win team to a spot in the CIAC state semifinals.
“I was one of the people that had been a starter from my sophomore year, it was a rough year for us,” Liam says. “We didn’t have as much success as we hoped for, the year after COVID we struggled. So it was great to see how far we had come. We probably had five or six guys from the 2020-2021 season that were varsity contributors that year from the freshman and sophomore class, and all of us kept playing. It was really cool to see how far we had come.”
And despite a season marred by injuries to key contributors on both attack and defense, Liam and the Grizzlies pushed through for an impressive postseason run in 2023.
“We went to the semifinals and battled it out with Cheshire who ended up winning the state championship,” Liam says. “It was good to see us preserve through all that, it paid off in the end.”
The boys’ lacrosse team used grit and determination to make it through the regular season and peak at the right time, coming off a few tough campaigns. Meanwhile with the wrestling team, the challenge was leading a young group, according to Liam.
“(The wrestling team) came off a year, my junior year, where we had three state champs, we lost a lot of pieces. That senior class was super strong,” says Liam. “It was a much different perspective where in lacrosse we came back with a lot of seniors and in wrestling we didn’t. We were primarily a freshman and sophomore team, they were half of our varsity lineup.”
For Liam, who also competed on the varsity wrestling squad as a freshman, he said the keys to leading the young players on the mat in the winter were empathy and patience.
“It was more about getting them to stay into it,” Liam explains. “Being a young guy on varsity it can be discouraging. I was on varsity my freshman year and I didn’t do as well, but the leaders kept me up and told me, ‘you got it,’ and by the end of this year guys were battling with good varsity guys across the state. It was good to see how far those guys had come. Some of those guys were first and second year wrestlers.”
Liam credits his coaches and other captains on the team for all working together well last season. He says the words of former captains dating back to his early years as a Guilford wrestler played a role in helping him this season.
“I was able to say, ‘okay, I used to be one of these freshmen that are on the team, what did the old captains do to make me better?’” says the senior. “A big part of it is being comfortable with the team and knowing I’m going against a great opponent and I may not win, but I still have to go out there and give it all I have.”
Giving everything he’s got is habitual for Liam, as prior to the wrestling season in the winter, the senior captain played multiple positions, including linebacker and safety, for the Grizzlies’ football team. Liam’s mantra was simple: do whatever it takes.
“I set the expectation for myself and the team that whatever we needed to do to win, we’re going to do,” he says.
Liam says the football team had many seniors and he was one of four captains, which made leading much easier. As his high school football days came to a close, he says he’ll always be grateful for the support of the town on those fall Friday nights.
“Going out there on a Friday night and having the whole town behind you, wrestling you’re not going to get that many people there, lacrosse you get some people there, but everyone goes to the football games, whether you are a former player, fan, you know someone on the team, everyone is there,” Liam shares. “The best feeling was going out there and winning a game, turning around and seeing 1,000 people and my teammates after the game.”
Liam is headed off to Millbrook School in New York to attend a post-graduate year after an impressive academic showing throughout high school. He was a member of the National Honor Society and was a three-time Scholar Athlete.
“My parents always pushed me to excel in the classroom, that’s the most important thing. Without good grades and staying out of trouble, things I really value, you can’t play sports,” Liam says. “My mindset was, and what my parents instilled in me, was I have to have good grades in order to play sports.”
Liam says he wants to play collegiate lacrosse following his post-grad year. White says the senior has all the tools, on and off the field, to make it happen.
“He’s just a kid that gets it,” White says. “He knows what he wants.”