Friday, January 27, 2023


 See this weeks print edition  

for these stories:

  • Local Bowling News
  • Tribe Boys Fall in Fourth Quarter
  • Tribe Wrestling Qualifies for District One Team Duals
  • Hang Earns USA Swimming Scholastic All-America Honor
  •  Perkiomen Swimmers Drop Meet to Blair
  • Kuhns Repeats as MAC Wrestling Champion
  • Panthers National Team Posts 10th Straight Win
  • Fisher, Lesko Receive All-SEPA Honors; Freed Named Co-Coach of Year
  • and much, much, more!







Sports Article
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Catching Up With ...
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

Alyssa Thren

            In fifth grade, Alyssa Thren joined an indoor field hockey club team started

Alyssa Thren

by a friend's mother. After playing youth soccer for several years, she wanted to try something new.

            When Thren got to middle school, she chose to spend her fall playing hockey. The speed of the game captured her attention.

            "I fell in love with it," said Thren, who grew up in Hereford. "I liked that it was so fast-paced."

             In 2006, she helped the Upper Perkiomen field hockey team advance to the PIAA state championship game, which it lost 1-0 loss to Wyoming Seminary.

            "It was definitely frustrating," said Thren. "I remember that we had four or five injured players. But we gave it everything we had. We had a talented group."

            The 2008 Upper Perkiomen graduate also excelled in lacrosse, her speed making her especially effective.

            Despite serious interest from the University of North Carolina and Syracuse, two top Division I field hockey programs, Thren decided to continue her education at Ursinus in Collegeville. She said the opportunity to compete in two sports, and play one season with her sister Nikki, helped make up her mind.

            At Ursinus, she became a prolific offensive performer in field hockey and lacrosse, becoming just the second athlete in NCAA history to score at least 100 goals in both sports.

            In hockey, Thren registered 107 goals and 244 points, becoming the conference's all-time leading scorer. She earned National Field Hockey Coaches Association All-American honors during her final three seasons. She set the school record for goals in a season, scoring 34 in consecutive seasons (2009 and 2010).

            Thren also helped lead the Golden Bears field hockey team to four consecutive Centennial Conference titles and Final Four appearances.

            On the lacrosse field, Thren led the team in scoring three times and earned two first-team All-Centennial Conference selections. She was named to the All-Region Team twice.

            In 2012, Thren was named the school's Outstanding Female Athlete of the Year and was the school's NCAA Woman of the Year nominee.

            "It helped that I was on some real good teams," she said.

            After college, the plan was to become a phys ed teacher and a coach and she did spend some time coaching at Upper Perk and, later, Ursinus. However, she couldn't find a full-time teaching job.

            Instead, Thren has put her coaching career on hold while she works at SEI, a provider of technology-driven wealth and investment management solutions, based in Oaks. She expressed a desire to eventually return to teaching field hockey.

            "The only thing I remember about high school and college is what happened on the field," she said. "I had a lot of great things come out of that. I had a successful career. However, I still think about the last loss for each team. It sticks with you."


Donald Jacobs

            At the end of his freshman baseball season at Northwest Missouri State

Donald Jacobs

University, Donald Jacobs was forced to forfeit his fielding glove. That fall, he played the field with a piece of wood strapped to his left hand.

            "I guess the head coach thought my hands were too hard," Jacobs related. "It was pretty embarrassing."

            However, the East Greenville resident said the experiment made him a better fielder. Early the next season, the coach gave Jacobs a brand new Wilson A2000 glove, which he still owns.

            A 1974 graduate of Upper Perkiomen High School, Jacobs starred on the baseball and football fields. He played second base for three seasons for the Tribe and pitched significant innings as a senior. Jacobs earned a reputation as a line-drive hitter who specialized in making contact. In his final season, Jacobs hit .400 and did not strike out once. He said plate discipline came naturally to him.

            "That's what I'm most proud of," Jacobs said.

            Following a tryout for the Pittsburgh Pirates at West Chester University, he narrowed his college choices down to West Chester and Northwest Missouri State. There, Jacobs got the opportunity to play with Gary Gaetti, who went on to a 20-year Major League career.

            "Gary hit the ball harder than anyone I've ever seen," said Jacobs, who played several years with the Upper Perk Chiefs in the TriCounty Adult League.

            On the football field, Jacobs started at defensive back and punter for the Tribe. As a senior, Jacobs registered five interceptions and finished as the No. 2 punter in the Bux-Mont League.

            He developed mental toughness playing for head coach Bill Keeny. Jacobs says the friendships he developed with his teammates remain strong.

            "I'm still close with a lot of those guys," he said.

            For 34 years, Jacobs has worked for the Clemens Food Group in Hatfield. As the company's credit manager, he's mainly responsible for its cash flow. He also handles the accounts receivable and processing the applications for new customers.

            Jacobs took the job after returning home from college with a bachelor's degree in education. He worked as a long-term substitute at the Upper Perkiomen Middle School, but couldn't find a full-time position.

            "No one was hiring teachers back then," Jacobs said.

            Jacobs credits his father for most of his athletic success. He said that paternal encouragement to train before the start of summer camp allowed him to thrive during Keeny's demanding practices.

            According to Jacobs, his father would drop him and John Hawkins off at the railroad tracks at 6th Street, then pick them up at 3rd Street.

            "Running the railroad tracks sounds pretty crazy," Jacobs wrote in an email message. "But it really helped with speed and agility."

            That August, while most of their teammates were bent over in pain after running wind sprints, Jacobs and Hawkins stood tall. Keeny looked over at Hawkins and winked in approval, according to Jacobs.

            "We were in great shape," Jacobs said.






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