When Mark Scialabba was a student at Queensbury High School, he received advice from then-athletic director Lloyd Mott.
A high school senior, Scialabba was trying to decide if he was going to play football or golf in the fall of 1997.
“He said, ‘Mark, you’re young. Be an athlete,’” Scialabba recalled. “It just meant this is your time in life to do these things.”
Mott encouraged the teen to be a part of the football team, which had recently been overhauled by coach John Irion. That football team was nearly undefeated that year and played in the Class A state finals at the Carrier Dome.
“He told me to take advantage of these opportunities, and I think it resonated well with me,” Scialabba said. “You don’t get these years back, so make the most of them.”
That’s the same advice Scialabba would give Queensbury High School students today. Scialabba, 42, who graduated from Queensbury High School in 1998, is the assistant general manager in charge of player personnel for the Washington Nationals baseball team.
Now in his 18th season with the Nationals, Scialabba oversees the pro scouting department and assists Mike Rizzo, president of the Washington Nationals, with every facet of scouting, player acquisitions, trades, free agency and waiver claims.
“We’re looking for talent,” he said, “looking to impact our Major League team in all different ways.”
During Scialabba’s tenure, he contributed to the development of more than 70 homegrown Major League players as well as the club’s trading and development of an additional 21 players that debuted with the Nationals.
Scialabba lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife, Meredith, and daughters Sydney, 5, and Amelia, who is almost 2. They are also expecting a third child.
His job also takes him to the team’s minor league affiliates in Rochester, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Wilmington, Delaware, Fredericksburg, Virginia, and an academy in the Dominican Republic.
He still recalls his time at QHS with joy — particularly his days spent on the football and baseball fields.
“We had a great group of players and athletes from that year, 1998,” he said. “We lost two games my senior year, both in the state finals for football and baseball.”
His parents and brother, Tim, live in Queensbury, and he still visits his old stomping ground.
“We had a lot of fun growing up in the area, always something to do,” he said. “We stayed very active and had a great group of friends that I still stay in touch with today.”
He excelled on and off the field and graduated from Williams College in 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in economics. He then earned an MBA and master’s in sport management from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 2006.
He lauded the Queensbury coaches Dan Cottrell, Jay Marra, Joe Lehet, John Irion and Jack LaBombard, who took these talented kids and molded them into athletes. He credits the coaches who pushed him hard on the field and the teachers who pushed him to excel in the classroom.
“We always challenged ourselves on the field and the athletic areas,” he said, “but combining that with doing that in the classroom is really important as well.”
Scialabba encourages current high school students to set high goals, take risks, gain skills and try to become an expert in something.
“Enjoy your time as a high school student,” he said, “and get involved as much as you can.”