Wednesday, August 17, 2022


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

Peg Pennepacker

            Peg Pennepacker describes herself as a child of Title IX. As a freshman and

Peg Pennepacker

sophomore at Upper Perkiomen High School, her athletic teams played fewer games than the boys. During her junior season, as the federal law – an Education Amendment passed in 1972 intended to protect people from discrimination based on sex in educational programs or activities – was implemented, the situation improved. As a senior, she says the players on the girls basketball team were excited to learn it was playing more games than the previous season, including three at night.

            "That was so cool," Pennepacker said. "We just wanted to play. We knew we were not getting the same treatment as the boys. Back then, it was all about the opportunity."

            Following a 36-year career as a teacher, administrator and athletic director, issues of equity in athletics remain her focus. In 2007, the Red Hill resident started a consulting business to help districts meet their Title IX compliance requirements.  "For some reason, the issue has always been a passion of mine," she said.

            Pennepacker, who was elected to Upper Perkiomen School Board two years ago, currently consults the executive council of the PA State Athletic Director's Association on the law. She also serves as a national faculty member for the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrator's Association (NIAAA), teaching courses on the amendment's four legal issues through the organization's Leadership Training Institute. Additionally, she currently serves as an advisory board member of the Association of Title IX Administrators, an organization that brings Title IX administrators together to advance gender equity in education, according to its website.

            Pennepacker's expertise in administrative and athletic issues earned a two-year term on the PIAA Board of Directors. Last week, she kicked off a two-year term on the board as a Pennsylvania School Board Association representative.

            She recently helped three local school districts reach resolution agreements with the U.S. Department of Education. According to Pennepacker, two of which were under investigation by the Office of Civil Rights, the branch of the office that enforces federal civil rights laws.

            The 1976 graduate, who grew up in East Greenville, played softball and basketball for the Indians. As a sophomore, her softball team won the Bux-Mont League championship. Pennepacker recalled her time on both teams, and playing the sousaphone in the high school marching band, with great fondness.  "It turns out we were the ones setting the stage for the girls behind us," she said.

            Pennepacker initially enrolled at Penn State Allentown with the intent of becoming a veterinarian. However, she said one semester at the school set her on a more favorable path.  "Too much math," Pennepacker said.

            After attending Montgomery County Community College for two years, she enrolled at Lock Haven State College with the intent of majoring in education. Pennepacker said she considered becoming a music teacher, but chose physical education. At Lock Haven, she played two years of basketball and three seasons on the softball team.

            After graduation, Pennepacker started her first full-time teaching job came at Blue Mountain High School in August of 1984. She stayed at the school for 15 years, also serving as an administrator, head coach of the girls basketball team and part-time athletic director.

            "I fell in love with the whole aspect of interscholastic athletics in our schools and its importance," Pennepacker said. "Sports support the academic mission of the school. Coaches are teachers who use teachable moments to teach life lessons."

            Following a five-year stint as AD at Perkiomen Valley, Pennepacker returned to Blue Mountain as an assistant principal and the co-athletic director. She was there two years before becoming the full-time AD at Twin Valley in 2007.

            Four years ago, Pennepacker retired following a six-year stint in a similar role at State College High School. She described the opportunity to cap her professional career in Center County school district, with 2,400 students as a "gift from God."

            "It was certainly a great opportunity," Pennepacker said.


Bobby Saeger

            During a three-week stint in professional baseball, Bobby Saeger played for

Bobby Saeger

meal money. He got a taste of dedication and focus he'd never experienced before. Over the last 23 seasons as a coach, he's been working to pass those lessons to upcoming generations.

            "I wish I learned that way earlier in my career," Saeger said. "My goal now is to make the players I coach take more ownership of their performance."

            The 1993 Upper Perkiomen graduate continues to don a uniform each spring and summer. He has coached or played every season since he was in eighth grade.

            "It's been a true blessing," said Saeger who currently serves as the third base coach for Perkiomen School and the Upper Perk Kiwanis Youth Legion Team. "I love being on the field."

            Coaching on the field keeps Saeger in the game. He says he is always thinking a couple hitters ahead about how his team can score runs.  "When the team is successful, the feeling I get is just as good as what I felt as a player," said Saeger, who grew up in the Palm section of Upper Hanover.

            Since 1999, his coaching career has included multiple stints with the Braves – who he managed to a Twin County League Championship and an Eastern Regional appearance in 2002 – as well as 11 years as an assistant to Brian Thomas at Ursinus College.  "I love it," said Saeger, who turned down an offer to succeed Thomas as head coach of the Braves.

            In August of 1998, three months after graduating from West Chester following a four-year playing career, he received a call from the manager of the Allentown Ambassadors, in the independent Northern League.

            According to Saeger, the team was in desperate need of a second baseman due to an injury. Manager Ed Ott, a former Major League catcher with the Pittsburgh Pirates and California Angels, offered him a 21-day contract with a daily salary of $10.

            Saeger played in 17 games during the three-week stretch for the Ambassadors, who played their home games at Bicentennial Park. He struggled badly at the plate during the initial seven or eight games. 

            "It was a dream come true," said Saeger, who was inducted into the Upper Perk Kiwanis Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015. "I loved the game and I wanted to keep playing. It was a big step up."

            Saeger says he was struck by the degree of drive and focus some of his teammates displayed. He said they maintained a high level of work ethic and consistent routines.  "They understood that if they didn't do that, they would be sent home," Saeger said.

            He described his four years at West Chester, playing for a Division I program, as the best experience of his life. Saeger credited his participation in a fall league while he was in high school at Samuel Balliet Stadium in Coplay. He described his participation in an All-Star game in Virginia as a stepping stone to reaching his goal.

            In high school, Saeger played four seasons for head coach Ernie Quatrani. He was also a mainstay at shortstop for Perkiomen's American Legion baseball team.

"I loved playing for Ernie," Saeger said. "He was intensely loyal and super competitive."

            During the summer of 1991, he helped Post 184 win the Bux-Mont League title and finish second in the Region 2 Tournament in Emmaus behind Boyertown. Prior to its first game, Saeger recalls seeing the Bears' mascot emerge from their bus during pregame warmups. He described it as a highlight.


            "That was absolutely awesome," Saeger said.






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