Upper Perkiomen sends 18 student/athletes to next level - updated

Eighteen Upper Perkiomen High School seniors announced plans to continue their academic and athletic pursuits at the next level during a virtual college signing day that was also attended by the families and coaches of the students. Nine different varsity sports and all three NCAA Divisional levels (D1, D2, D3) were represented in the choices by the student/athletes. 

Photos provided by Upper Perkiomen athletic department

Kate Cairns – Soccer – Delaware Valley
Position: Defense
Club Affiliation: Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals Soccer Club
Parents: Janina and John Cairns
Major Athletic Honors: 2020 - UP team captain, All-PAC 2nd team, All-Area (Mercury) 2nd team defender
College major: Business/marketing
Other schools under consideration: Drexel, Penn State, Temple, Albright, St. Joseph’s (PA)
Why did you choose this school? “It is close to home, the campus is beautiful and the opportunity to continue playing soccer at a competitive level.”
Reflections on high school career: “I enjoyed being a member of the varsity team since my freshman year, and will miss all my teammates. I am happy to have had a season this year.”
Expectations for college career/upcoming season: “I am very excited about the upcoming soccer season. There are 13 incoming freshmen who will make an immediate impact on the team.”
Coach Mike Freed: “Kate has been one of our most versatile players over her four years as a varsity player.  She has played forward, midfield and defender over the years, filling the role the team needed most at the time. She was one of our leaders and one of our most consistent players last year at left defender, and the recognition she received from the coaches in the league was well deserved.”

Bella Carpenter – Field hockey – Kent State

Position: Midfield
Club Affiliation: X-Calibur Field Hockey Club
Parents: Pam and Rob Carpenter
Major Athletic Honors: 2020: PAC 10 Champion, Mercury All-Area Player of the Year, 1st Team All State, 1st Team All Division, 1st Team All-Mercury. 2019: PAC 10 Champion, District 2A Runner Up, 2nd Team All-State, 2nd Team All-Division, Honorable Mention All-Region, Honorable Mention All-Mercury. 2018: PAC 10 Honorable Mention. 
Academic/community service: 2018 & 2019 FCA Camp Counselor
College Major: Undecided
Other schools in the mix: University of Vermont, American, Lafayette, VCU, Lehigh
Why did you choose this school? “I chose Kent State because I loved everything about the school! Kent academically has lots of options I can choose from to try and find a major I’ll love. I was also so impressed with the coaches and the team atmosphere. I love the field hockey program and the high level of competition in the MAC conference.”
Expectations for the upcoming season: “I hope to continue to grow as a player and develop new skills as well in helping my team to a MAC championship.”
Reflections on high school career: “These past 4 years have been so much fun! Especially winning 2 PAC Championships with some of my best friends. I have grown so much as a player and teammate and I will cherish the big and small memories forever.”
Upper Perkiomen coach Jamie Warren: “Bella has been an instrumental player for the Upper Perkiomen field hockey program all four years of her varsity career. She has matured and developed into a leader on and off the field. Her natural athletic ability has enabled her to develop the field hockey skills and prepared her to continue her playing career at the college level.  Good Luck – Bella at Kent State!”
Joey Carpenter – Wrestling – York (PA) College
Weight: 126 pounds
Club Affiliation: Lion’s Den
Parents: Pam and Rob Carpenter
Major Athletic Honors: Upper Perk team captain (2 years), 3-time Regional qualifier, District 1 Scholar-Athlete 2018-19, All-Area (Mercury) honorable mention 2020-21, Morning Call (Allentown) All-Area honorable mention 2018-19; All-PAC Frontier 1st team 2019-20
Academic/community service: High Honor Roll 2018, 2020, 2021; Honor Roll 2019, Special Olympics
College major: Undecided
Why did you choose this school? “I liked York because it was affordable, wasn’t too far away and the atmosphere was good. I loved the campus and the team and coaches.”
Reflections on high school career: “I felt like I did well. I could have done better my junior and senior year but I am proud of myself for coming back and competing well this year from an injury.”
Expectations for college career/upcoming season: “To be in the starting lineup.”
Blandin Conklin – Cross country/track – Susquehanna
Parents: Clinton and Renee Conklin
Major Athletic Honors: 4-year varsity athlete/letter winner
Academic/community service: High school tutor, volunteer for Upper Perk Special Olympics, co-speaker at local mindfulness seminar, local involvement in environmental conservation
College major: Environmental Science & Policy, Creative Writing (double major)
Why did you choose this school? “During the application process, I discovered Susquehanna and immediately became intrigued by its exceptional reputation. Susquehanna offers excellent academic programs that suit my interests in environmentalism and creative writing, which I’ll be able to amply engage in as a member of the Honors Program. Set along the Susquehanna River, the campus’ natural beauty caught my eye as a place where I could feel as one with nature throughout my studies and running career. The XC/TF program stood out to me as ideal for the next step toward my athletic journey, as I feel that I’ll be able to steadily become faster and stronger there.”
Reflections on high school career: “Running in high school has fostered some of the most significant physical and mental development I have experienced throughout my lifetime. What started as an extracurricular became the epicenter of my character. The bonds of friendships forged during those July morning long runs and April afternoon track workouts; those moments defined the sport. Toeing the line with tense muscles and static nerves taught me to clear my mind in order to cross that line first. The essence of the run itself—a phenomena of tranquility—has provided me with an entirely new perspective of the relationship between myself and my surroundings. The persistence of motion through scorching summer sun and sharp winter winds, the infinite absorption of force in the legs from each stride, the endurance of burning lungs and the vigorously pumping heart: all utterly baffling yet revealing of inexhaustible human ability. Heatstroke and a degraded mindset may have pinned me down at times, but I embraced a sound mind for a sound body. I stared into the cold eyes of adversity and grinded through it. I got back up and ran smart, dedicated, and fast. I didn’t run away from my problems; I raced and beat them.”
Expectations for college career/upcoming season: “Contribute to the XC and TF teams by excelling in performance as well as continuing to better my ability.”
Other comments (thank you); “I’d like to thank my coaches for their ceaseless dedication to my athletic development, as nothing I have achieved would have been attainable without their guidance and encouragement. They did more than just assign workouts and talk race strategy; they taught me how to run the extra mile, a priceless mentality I’ll always practice. Coach Niemann, Dusza, and Mowrer each fostered my growth in a unique way, molding me into the character I am today. Their dedication to the sport has been a significant factor in my admiration of it. I will use the skills they taught me as I run for the rest of my life, until I die.”
Jack Cupitt – Soccer – Penn State Lehigh Valley
Position: Center Defensive Mid and Center Back
Parents: John Cupitt Jr. and Erin Sabo
Major Athletic Honors: Soccer– 2018 (2nd team All-PAC Frontier), 2019 (1st team All-PAC Frontier), 2020 (2nd team All-PAC); 2020 – Basketball - All-Academic
College major: Undecided
Why did you choose this school? “It is local and has small class sizes. Also speaking to some teachers showed me how much they value the students' education.”
Reflections on high school career: “I think the chemistry our group had was like no other. We put the Upper Perk name out to show that we can compete with the big schools.”
Lily Dibble – Softball – Mount Aloysius
Editor's Note: No photo provided
Position: Pitcher, Outfield
Parents: Erin and John Dibble
College major: Physical Therapy Assistant
Why did you choose this school? “It felt like home and it matched what I wanted (academically and athletically).”
Reflections on high school career: “Pitched most of my sophomore year and helped get my team to states.”
Coach Dean Sullivan: “Lily always did what the team needed her to do. From starting pitcher to relief pitcher. She carried our team through districts to States as our only pitcher her sophomore year. Always smiling, it will be fun to see her play in college.”
Malachi Duka – Baseball – Lebanon Valley
Position: CF, RHP
Club Affiliation: Perkiomen Post 184
Parents: Matthew and Jennifer Duka
Major Athletic Honors: Baseball - 2019 - 2nd team All-PAC Frontier and All-Area honorable mention (Mercury) sophomore year, captain senior year; Football – 2019 - All-PAC Frontier WR second team, All-Area honorable mention, Upper Perk Offensive MVP; 2020 – All-PAC second team LB, team captain, All-Area Honorable Mention
College major: Environmental Science
Other schools under consideration: Chestnut Hill, Susquehanna
Why did you choose this school? “It has good academics, a nice campus, good facilities, a good coach and a great baseball program.”
Reflections on high school career: “It was a great four years, but missing my junior year due to COVID was upsetting.”
Hunter Flack – Track and field - Liberty
Event: Pole vault
Club Affiliation: Philly Jumps Club
Parents: Mike and Susan Flack
Major Athletic Honors: 1st team All-PAC (track, pole vault) – 2019; 2nd team All-PAC QB (football) as a senior, 2nd team All-PAC Frontier QB as a junior (football); 2nd team All-PAC Frontier as junior (basketball)
Academic/community service: National Honor Society
College major: Education
Reflections on high school career: “I’ve enjoyed each and every moment of high school sports and I wish it wasn’t coming to an end.”
Expectations for college career/upcoming season: “To continually try to improve my heights and score points for the team.”
Sierra Fretz – Softball - Albany
Position: Catcher, Third base
Club Affiliation: Rock 18U Gold
Parents: Jacqueline and Scott Sergas, Brett and Ruby Fretz
Major Athletic Honors: 2019 – All-PAC Frontier first team
Academic/community service: Volunteer coach for Upper Perk youth girls softball
College major: Molecular Biology
Why did you choose this school? “I chose the University of Albany because it is a top research institution in the country and it just mainly felt like home. The coaches and softball team made me feel so welcome and excited to be part of such an amazing program and to be a great Dane for the next four years.”
Reflections on high school career: “Playing softball at Upper Perk for coach Dean and with my teammates who I have been playing with since we were kids has been amazing. Although it had its ups and downs, I would not go back and change a single thing about the past four years playing Varsity Softball. I will never forget the wins, losses and countless memories that I have made with my closest friends while playing the game I love.”
Coach Dean Sullivan: “Sierra has been a tremendous leader and teammate. She always puts in the extra work. Her fearlessness and love of softball was a pleasure to watch. From when she was 12u and I did not offer a spot on my travel team, I would now love to have a full team of Sierras. She will succeed in anything she wants to do and it will be great to see what she accomplishes in life.”
Zach Gehman – Baseball – Centenary
Position: Pitcher
Parents: Michele and Josh Gehman
Academic/community service: SWAP Triple Mission Trip to West Virginia
College major: Special Education
Why did you choose this school? “The academic and athletic programs are very likeable.”
Reflections on high school career: “I really enjoyed being with my friends for the three years we were able to play together. I am grateful to have such good teammates.”

Cole Kendra – Soccer – York (PA) College

Position: Center midfield
Club Affiliation: Lehigh Valley United
Parents: Lisa and Frank Kendra
Major Athletic Honors: 2017 - All-PAC Frontier 2nd team, All-Area (Mercury) honorable mention; 2018 – All-PAC Frontier 1st team, All-Area (Mercury) 2nd team; 2019 – All-PAC Frontier 1st team, All-Area (Mercury) 1st team; 2020 – PAC All-Conference 1st team
College major: Civil Engineering
Other school under consideration: Bloomsburg
Why did you choose this school? “York has my intended major.”
Reflections on high school career: “Helped turn around the soccer program with my teammates.”
Sean Lyman – Swimming – U.S. Coast Guard Academy
Event: Freestyle
Club Affiliation: Upper Perkiomen YMCA Gators
Parents: Brigid and Michael Lyman
Major athletic honors: PIAA all state honorable mention, All PIAA District 1 Team, YMCA National medalist, 12-time club record holder, 2-time high school team record holder, 3-time high school pool record holder, PIAA state qualifier and USA Swimming Futures qualifier
Academic/community service: Distinguished Honor Roll, Organized fundraiser to raise money for National Drowning Prevention Alliance – earning the Principal’s Service Medal for 50-plus hours of community service total. 
College Major: Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering 
Other schools in the mix: U.S. Naval Academy, Bucknell, Villanova, Fordham, Pitt
Why did you choose this school? “The Coast Guard’s humanitarian mission, family atmosphere and education that will set me up for life. Along with being a major key contributor to the team where we have an opportunity to place and even win NCAAs all while getting the honor to serve in the world’s greatest Coast Guard, continuing my drive to help and protect others.”
Expectations for the upcoming season: “Winning a few events at the conference tournament, qualifying for NCAAs and placing to earn CSCAA All American Status, while breaking a few Coast Guard team records along the way.”
Reflections on high school career: “Had a blast with a great team and even better coaching. Improved each and every year thanks to Coach K’s program and strived to be the best swimmer I could be every day. Looking back from going unnoticed to PIAA all state honorable mention is truly amazing. Only regret is that I wish COVID never happened so I could have had a normal senior season to have the opportunity to break even more records and swim at states.”
Bryanna Marinari – Soccer – Shenandoah
Position: Outside/Center Mid
Club Affiliation: West-Mont United Premier S.A.
Parents: Matt and Jean Marinari
Major Athletic Honors: 2018 – All-PAC Frontier 2nd team and All-PAC honorable mention as sophomore; 2019 – All-PAC Frontier 1st team and All-PAC 2nd team as junior; All-Area honorable mention as sophomore and junior (2018, 2019)
Academic/community service: Girl Scouts, Leo’s Club, Perk Pals, FBLA
College major: Political Science with Pre-Law Minor
Why did you choose this school? “I chose this school for the distance, the area, the coaching staff and the academics.”
Reflections on high school career: “I thought I had a great two years during high school. I had injuries that set me back and had me working back to what I used to be.”
Expectations for college career/upcoming season: “My expectations are to be in the starting lineup and make a name for myself. I would love for us to get to the playoffs and be the best team out there.”
UP coach Mike Freed: “Bryanna was a key contributor to our team throughout her four-year career. She gave us experience and leadership in the midfield and will be missed.”
Conor Martin – Baseball – Montgomery County CC
Position: First Base
Club Affiliation: Perkiomen Post 184
Parents: Patti and Steve Martin
Major Athletic Honors: Home Run Derby finalist at Citizens Bank Park
Academic/community service: Volunteer at Souderton Boys and Girls Club
College major: General Studies
Why did you choose this school? “The coach (at MCCC) had reached out to me and asked me to come play baseball. It was also a good academic fit for me.”
Reflections on high school career: “I missed out on most of my high school career because of COVID and having reconstructive surgery on my elbow.”
Expectations for college career/upcoming season: “To improve my game and help my team win.”
Gabe Reptsik – Baseball – Penn College of Technology
Position: Pitcher
Parents: Crystal Fisher and Matt Reptsik
College major: HVAC
Other school under consideration: Northampton Community College
Why did you choose this school? “I’m excited to play baseball with the team and go to school and learn my trade - HVAC.”
Expectations for college career/upcoming season: “To learn.”
Evan Shade – Baseball – Penn State Brandywine
Position: Second base, middle infield
Parents: Kelly and Shawn Shade
Major Athletic Honors: Varsity team captain for baseball
Academic/community service: UP baseball open link food drive, active in church community services
College major: English with an eye on career in education
Other schools under consideration: Rosemont, Cairn
Why did you choose this school? “It meets my needs both academically and athletically. There’s a great community within the school.”
Reflections on high school career: “I had a great few years and became close with my teammates – a lot of good guys. I wish we had more time together to keep improving and winning.”
Logan Smith – Baseball – Chatham
Position: Middle infield
Parents: Kristle Simpson and Brad Smith
Major Athletic Honors: 2019 Offensive MVP (Kiwanis Baseball)
College major: Cell and Molecular Biology
Why did you choose this school? “Chatham is located right in the heart of Pittsburgh. The campus is small and the students often get 1-on-1 (with teacher). I love how nice everyone is and how they teach you to make a difference in the world.”
Expectations for college career: “I plan to go into Chatham with the intention of having many opportunities to play. At Chatham they love to preach teamwork and I intend to be a good teammate.”
Reflections on high school career: “I have made the school baseball team every year that I have tried out. My junior year didn’t go as planned with COVID but I still kept with it. Senior year was a letdown for me. I had some shoulder problems that put me out a couple of weeks. Also, I had to quarantine which took me right to the last three games of the season.”
Other comments: “I want to thank all the coaches throughout my high school career. They all did an amazing job hurdling the challenges presented by high school boys.”
Genieva Zick – Field Hockey – Cedar Crest
Position: Forward
Parents: Jennifer and Jayme Zick
College major: Criminal Justice
Why did you choose this school? “I chose Cedar Crest because it is close to home and I love the campus and staff.”
Reflections on high school career: “I improved a lot in my high school years, but I wish I had more time to learn more.”
Expectations for college career/upcoming season: “I expect to become a better player by working with a new team and coaching staff.”