Marc Narducci: A special time for Collingswood's LaBar and family

Beth LaBar is the latest in a long line of family members to compete at Collingswood.
Beth LaBar is the latest in a long line of family members to compete at Collingswood. (MARC NARDUCCI / Staff)
Posted: May 15, 2011

We watch the games, take interest in the results, but often don't realize how much it means to put the uniform on to represent one's high school.

Even the athletes themselves don't always realize how special things are until they are winding down, and that is natural. The athlete is geared to competing and attempting to win that next game. Soon, however, that next high school game won't exist for seniors.

So late in the spring season is often a time of reflection for athletes whose careers have less than a month to go.

One of those is Collingswood's Beth LaBar, the most recent in a long line of family members who have been standouts in field hockey and lacrosse at a school that has had success in both sports over the years.

She is the 18th and, at least among her generation, final family member to compete in lacrosse at Collingswood.

LaBar, who was also a varsity basketball player, will graduate with 10 varsity letters, and many more memories.

"There has been such a great tradition at Collingswood and it has made such an impact on me," LaBar said after a recent lacrosse win over Paul VI.

Few know more about the great tradition than LaBar. Her mother, Janet, and Janet's sisters Sue (Rudderow) Murphy and Patti (Rudderow) Noon all competed at a high level in field hockey and lacrosse at Collingswood.

Noon played on consecutive state-title lacrosse teams, the first two won at Collingswood, in 1976 and 1977. Murphy became a noted lacrosse coach at Shawnee, winning seven state titles. She is currently the athletic director at Shawnee.

Janet LaBar also excelled at both sports, as did her other daughter, Ellie, now attending Rider and playing field hockey.

Several other cousins also helped contribute to the Collingswood sports legacy.

"I feel honored to be part of all of this," she said.

Probably the person who is even more nostalgic than Beth LaBar is her grandmother, Lorraine Rudderow, who still attends most games.

She has seen her daughters, granddaughters, and nieces compete in an exemplary manner for Collingswood for more than three decades.

"I will miss this a lot," said Lorraine Rudderow, herself a Collingswood graduate and a former cheerleader. "It's just so many years of great memories."

Beth LaBar is one of the captains and leaders of the team.

"Beth has been a great leader," said head coach Stephanie LaMaina, who also has added to the tradition by accumulating 289 career wins at the school. "She is the last one coming through, and I know it's kind of sad for the parents."

That's another point. As much as the athletes will miss the competition, the parents, who in many instances have been on the sidelines for years, juggling their schedules around games, also will experience withdrawal.

"We've enjoyed this so much," said Janet LaBar, Beth's mother.

And this spring, Beth LaBar is leaving her family with the best of memories during a successful season. The Panthers entered the weekend 9-5 against a highly competitive schedule.

As each practice and game concludes, Beth concedes that she is taking time to appreciate the moment even more. This is her last lacrosse season. In the fall, she will attend Stockton and play field hockey.

So when the season and her career do finally end, Beth LaBar will have a lot to reminisce about. So will her family.

"College will be a new challenge," LaBar said. "But I just love where I am right now."

It's a place that she and her family have been such a big part of. LaBar's graduation could signal the end of this most impressive of eras.


Contact staff writer Marc Narducci at 856-779-3225

or mnarducci@phillynews.com. Follow him on Twitter

at Twitter.com/sjnard

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