VIDEO: Red Lion quarterback Zach Mentzer discusses the Lions 56-28 win over Central York, his offensive line and his development as a signal caller. York Dispatch
All high school boys make dumb jokes to each other.
Well, that doesn't really end in high school, but Zach Mentzer has a good group of friends who sometimes like to razz each other.
What do Zach's friends at Red Lion High School make fun of him for?
His sister, Sydney, being a better athlete than him.
"My friends joke about it a lot and say 'I live in my sister’s shadow' because of how successful she is,” Zach said, laughing. “It’s pretty funny."
Sydney, a freshman at York Catholic, was a first-team York-Adams League Division III all-star as a soccer player in the fall and is currently one of the leading goal scorers for the undefeated Irish girls’ lacrosse team.
Zach, a three-sport senior athlete, laughs the jokes off and said they don't bother him, because he's proud of his sister.
"It’s amazing for her to be able to do what she’s doing as a freshman on varsity,” he said.
Sydney's success: Both Sydney and Zach started playing soccer when they were 4 years old. Sydney’s start in lacrosse in second grade, though, is what she said was "the best decision I've ever made.”
"I've made a lot of great friends through lacrosse," said Sydney, who plays forward/midfield in soccer and midfield in lacrosse. "I've also had a lot of phenomenal coaches who have helped me so much."
Sydney left Red Lion and enrolled at York Catholic in eighth grade for academic reasons.
"I felt that I needed a smaller school to do my best academically,” she said.
Sydney said her goals in lacrosse are to win a district championship and play in college. Instead of getting complacent, Sydney said her success this season is driving her to improve.
"I am going to continually get better,” she said. “The sky is the limit. I’ve got to keep pushing."
Zach's success: While Sydney is excelling as a freshman, that doesn't mean Zach isn't as a senior.
Zach was a second-team Division I all-star last fall as Red Lion's quarterback. In his first year as the starting signal caller, Mentzer executed the Lions' run-pass option system with ease. He led the Lions to a 56-28 win over Central and a clutch, fourth-quarter comeback to defeat York High. The Lions were co-D-I champions and made the District 3 playoffs.
"I was almost at every football game last year," said Sydney, who added it can be difficult for her and Zach to see each other play with their busy schedules. "It was his big turn, and I felt like I needed to be there to support him. Knowing he had such a great season made me want to have a great year, too."
Zach, who also played basketball in the fall, is a starting midfielder and a captain on the Red Lion boys' lacrosse team.
"I love football, but lacrosse is probably my better avenue to play in college,” he said. “I love all the sports I play.”
Zach is committed to playing lacrosse for York College. The Spartans are one of the top NCAA Division III men's lacrosse programs in the country.
"It’s good for me academically and athletically,” Zach said. “I’ll be majoring in sports management, and coach (Brandon) Childs is a really good coach."
Brother-sister relationship: Sydney said she and Zach have a "competitive" relationship.
"Zach pushes me to become a better athlete,” she said. “I learn a lot from what he does on the field. It’s a good relationship, but we still fight sometimes."
When Zach could watch Sydney's lacrosse games when they were younger, he would take notes of what she could improve on.
"After the game, sometimes we would go out back and work on defense or shooting form,” Sydney said.
As Sydney's older brother with three more years of high school experience, Zach said his advice to his sister is to "relax" and enjoy her years in high school.
"I just tell her that she needs to stop worrying and enjoy the moment,” Zach said.
Thankful for parents: Sydney and Zach aren't succeeding on their own, of course.
They give much of the credit to their parents, Amy and Jeff, who were standout athletes at Hereford High School in Maryland. Jeff was a three-sport athlete, and Amy was a runner on the track-and-field and cross-country teams. Amy won a state championship in high school and went on to run at University of Maryland Baltimore County.
"To see her motivation and how she’s so determined helps me” Sydney said. “On my days off, I run with my mom. I’m out there putting in the extra work that maybe others aren’t, and she helps me with that."
Aside from the good athletic genes they passed on to their children, Amy and Jeff, like many parents, spend a large chunk of their free time driving to and watching their children's games.
"I'm extremely thankful for my parents," Zach said. "They never wanted me to quit a sport. They always supported me and pushed me."
"Words can’t describe how much they do for me and my brother,” Sydney said. “They’re such a big part of my life."
Reach Jacob Calvin Meyer at firstname.lastname@example.org.