Saturday, February 04, 2023


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  • Local Bowling News
  • Tribe Wrestlers Hold Their Own in District One Team Duals
  • Fresa Leads Lehigh in Bucknell Invite
  • Tribe Swimmers Split Two Meets
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Sports Article
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Catching Up With ...
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

Sandy Ann Heffentrager Barrow

            Sandy Ann Heffentrager Barrow wasn't planning on going to college after high

Sandy Ann Heffentrager

school. Soon after graduating from Upper Perkiomen in 1959, her father forced her to take a job at a children's clothing factory in Red Hill. However, she lasted less than two weeks after watching a co-worker suffer a sewing accident.

            A three-sport athlete, Heffentrager had no plans to attend college. As a student in the commercial curriculum, she struggled in high school but was able to graduate.

            "All my friends were preparing for college," Heffentrager said. "I was having fun and focusing on my sports."

            At the urging of a teacher, she applied at East Stroudsburg University. In 2003, Heffentrager Barron retired from the Quakertown Community School District following a long career as a health and physical education teacher.

            "Once I learned the ropes, it was the place I needed to be," she said. "When you see that a student understands what you're teaching them, and you see that the light goes on, is the best part of the job."

            Heffentrager competed in field hockey, basketball and softball for the Tribe. She described hockey as her top sport.

            "I liked being on the bus with the girls," said Heffentrager, who grew up in Pennsburg near Perkiomen School. "We had so much fun. And I loved to compete on the field."

            At East Stroudsburg, she was named the MVP of the field hockey team as a senior in 1962. She also played tennis for the Warriors. Growing up, Heffentrager taught herself to play by absorbing lessons from Perkiomen School's tennis coach.

            At Milford Middle School and the Quakertown High School, the teacher made sure her students followed all the rules of any athletic activities. She said it helped to create a constructive learning environment.

            "The ones I meet up with now are all well rounded," said Barrow, a mother of four who also coached field hockey, tennis, softball and basketball in the district. "I feel good when I see they are successful. It means I had a fraction of influence in their lives."


Francis Schwenk 

            As a student-teacher and a senior at Northwest Missouri State during the spring

Fran Schwenk

of 1969, Francis Schwenk decided to enlist in the U.S. Marines. But he failed the physical and was forced to find a different path.

            Schwenk, a 1965 graduate of Upper Perkiomen High School, accepted an offer to teach in North Kansas City School District. He also served as the head football coach at a junior high.

            "When I got on the field for the first practice, I just loved it," said Schwenk, who relied on the knowledge he gained from Indians Coach Bill Keeny and his staff.

            Over the years, Schwenk has spent 50 seasons coaching at high schools and colleges across the Midwest. After graduating from Northwest Missouri State, located in Maryville, the Red Hill native spent time at seven institutions.

            He served as the head coach at his alma mater, Doane College, and William Jewell College, posting an overall record of 180-127. At Doane College, in Crete, Neb., Schwenk served as head coach from 1984 to 2004. His teams posted an overall record of 114-87-3 and made three postseason appearances in the NAIA national playoffs. The Tigers advanced to semi-finals in 1997.

            A two-year starter for the Tribe, Schwenk earned All-Conference honors at defensive end and fullback as a senior. He was one of just two two-way starters during the 1964 season.

          "It was quite an honor," Schwenk said. "I did what I had to do. I did what I had to do to win. Coach Keeny taught me toughness more than anything. He could challenge you on the field, but, as a player, you would get a pat on the back or an encouraging word when you least expected it."

            Schwenk earned four letters and started two seasons for the Bearcats as a college player. He said his high school coaching staff prepared him to compete.

            "I wasn't the greatest player, but I met the challenge," said Schwenk, who lives in Liberty, Miss. and has three grown daughters and six granddaughters. "I got the most out of my ability."






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