BINGHAMTON, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – Sydney Harbaugh was a star softball player for C-NS appearing in the Class AA Final Four four times during her career. From Cicero, she went on to star at Binghamton as a four time all-conference first team player and the America East conference player of the year in 2014. She set three records during her time with the Bearcats in hits (190), runs (153), and stolen bases (97); with the runs and stolen bases records standing to this day. But she has since hung up her cleats, glove and helmet.
“I do miss the competition and game itself,” said Harbaugh.
But she has found another way to fill that void. By going behind the scenes.
“When I was an athlete I will say, I had no idea what was on the other side,“ said Harbaugh.
During her senior year at Binghamton she got to experience that ‘other side’ as an intern in the athletic department. She worked on “Bearcat Brief” videos as well as helped cover the other sports on campus.
“I definitely got a taste of it, but not even close to what it actually involves,” said Harbaugh. “Once I was hired, it was completely different.”
After graduation in May of 2016, Harbaugh returned to her alma mater in October to work in the communications department. Over the last nearly four years she has worked with multiple teams including men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s basketball, and wrestling as an Athletics Communications Assistant focusing on Creative Content including producing videos and graphics content.
This year she will focus on men’s lacrosse as well as both men’s and women’s tennis, but in the past, she has gone on the road with the basketball teams and gone to the NCAA tournament with the wrestling team. It’s not the same as playing, but it can be pretty close.
“That’s probably been the most exciting thing for me to witness wrestling ncaa championships,” said Harbaugh.
“The most rewarding moments for me have been watching some of the athletes I cover accomplish things that kinda bring out the excitement that I had when I was playing.”
Sydney missed the last nine games of her senior season with injury so she understands how it feels when things are out of your control.
“That kind of – you don’t have any control over what’s gonna happen – is a scary feeling. Especially right now. The athletes here, whether people understand it or not, their sport is their world. Obviously, they’re there to go to school. But they eat, sleep, and breathe the sport they play,” said Harbaugh.
But now as someone working in the business, she has learned to be ready for anything.
“That’s kinda what the job is, if you can’t roll with it, you’re probably not gonna make it in this field,” said Harbaugh. “I know how busy it’s gonna be come winter and spring. Even with the talk of doing non-traditional seasons for fall sports. So, if you fall those in the spring, we’re stating two three games a day. Its slow right now, if that’s what it’s gonna be like in the spring then I’m not gonna complain.”
This time next year, Sydney’s younger sister Laney will be joining her playing softball at Binghamton. Laney is a senior center fielder at C-NS.
“I kinda always knew in the back of my head that she was gonna follow in my footsteps,” said Sydney who actually has coached her sister in the past with her summer travelling team in Binghamton. “She’s got such a great relationship with the coaches she’s been around them for so long. And I know she loves the school. She wants to be an engineer and we have a great engineering school so that’s gonna be really good for her.”