By Ross Forman – After four seasons skating for the New Trier varsity, forward Serena Seiple is getting ready to retire her No. 14 Trevians’ jersey and, in a few months, transition to college life. Though she’s still undecided on her college plans, she wants to major in biology and continue studying French and theatre.
Her favorite hockey memory came as a freshman: winning the Illinois High School Hockey Girls State Championship at the United Center.
“We put everything we had into that game, so hearing that final buzzer and hearing cheers all around from the fans was an exhilarating feeling and one that I will always remember,” said Seiple, 17, who lives in Wilmette and has played for the Winnetka Warriors, Wilmette Braves, Highland Park Falcons, Team Illinois, and the Chicago Young Americans.
“I am a defensive-minded player, but I can quickly adjust to the play and am very effective offensively, as well. My uncle and cousins have always been a significant part of my life and have influenced my love for hockey. The three of them play hockey, too, and are the reason I began playing and continue to play at a high level.”
Seiple plays wing and center, wherever needed. She had 3 goals, 5 assists in 8 Metro Girls games last season.
“I am encouraging, supportive and a very smart player on and off the ice. I am known to have a very good, accurate shot and am not afraid to block the other teams’ shots,” Seiple said. “As one of the team captains, I try to make the environment beneficial for the younger players. I help them have fun and still develop their skills.”
Seiple said the Trevians had a “talented, hard-working” team last season. “We played every game with intensity and ended up being very successful,” she said.
Seiple, who also plays soccer, is involved in New Trier’s performing arts – she is active in theatre and is a violinist in the New Trier Orchestra. “I love to read, and I tutor kids in math, reading and science,” she said.
“Playing soccer helps me stay active off the ice and stay in shape,” she said. “It also gives me a different type of sport to understand, helping my awareness during games and benefiting my ability to react to situations on the ice.”
*Photos By: Anita Cepuritis, Talivaldis Cepuritis, and Faith Zelinsky*
Slapshots With … New Trier Forward Serena Seiple
Jersey No. 14: “It’s been my number for as long as I can remember and has become my lucky number. I chose it when I played for the Wilmette Braves because it was the closest number to Jonathan Toews’ 19 that was available and it has been my number in hockey, soccer, and everything else ever since.”
Little-known Fact: “I have dual citizenship with the U.S. and Latvia and have considered playing for the Latvian Women’s National Team.”
Favorite NHL Team: Chicago Blackhawks
Favorite NHL Player: Jonathan Toews
Favorite Sports-Themed Movie: Miracle
Favorite Pre-Game Meal: “I don’t like to eat before games, but I usually have something light with a little protein a few hours before. My personal favorite is a Cobb salad with chicken.”
Celebrity You’d Like To Meet: Jensen Ackles
Best Hockey Tip: “As a center, I’ve gotten very good at faceoffs and typically have one of the highest face-off win percentages on my teams. My uncle, Edgar Cepuritis, helped me practice and told me to watch the ref’s hand and make sure to spin my hips to separate the other center from the puck, advice which has come in very handy in my games.”
Teammate Who You Could See As A Hockey Coach: Courtney Schumacher
Hardest slapshot on New Trier: Emili Haratani
Most Accurate Shot: Ella Huber
Fastest Skater: Natalie Fu
Best High School Uniforms (other than New Trier): Maine or Fenwick
Ross Forman has written about Illinois high school hockey for more than 15 years and is the only sportswriter to have covered Illinois High School hockey every year during that stretch. He played locally and then at Indiana University before becoming a referee. Ross was a referee for the State Championship game several years ago at the United Center. Contact Ross by email at Rossco814@aol.com.