After a couple of years of making the PAC-10’s Final Four, the Upper Perkiomen golf team finds itself in rebuilding mode in 2013 despite the return of its top golfer, Drew Kriebel.
Gone are Austin Bennett and Dan Loose, two members of The Mercury’s All-Area Golf Second Team last fall. Both qualified for the District 1 Tournament. Also graduated from last year’s 6-3 (8-5 overall) squad are Mitch Siwy and Kyle Kater.
“Replacing four graduating seniors is going to be difficult,” said 12th-year Head Coach John Brittain.
Brittain is happy to welcome back Kriebel, calling the junior “one of the best players I have ever coached. He is more focused this season and is growing into a leader. I expect big things from Drew as we move through the regular season and into the post- season.”
Even though the Tribe has started off 0-2 this year, Kriebel has lived up to expectations. Upper Perk had the dubious distinction of opening against defending PAC-10 champion Spring-Ford and lost by 22 strokes. Kreibel, however, carded the lowest total for both teams, 39.
In the team’s second match against Boyertown, Kriebel again led the way with a one over par, 37. The Tribe was much more competitive against the Bears but lost, 207-214.
Brittain explained what makes Kriebel an outstanding golfer: “Drew has a very good short game. He is able to get up and down from almost anywhere. He is a good putter, inside eight feet.”
As anyone who has played golf can attest, physical skills are only part of the equation for success. “[Kreibel’s] greatest strength is his mental side of the game,” Brittain continued. “He is able to stay calm and focused on the course. He shot four under, 32, in practice earlier this season and you couldn’t tell by looking at him. He is the same if he plays great or plays poorly.”
Other returnees from last year’s team include Dan Crum, Blake Bennett, Kevin Loose and Lauren Saylor.
Crum, Bennett and Loose are two, three and four in the line-up while Saylor, the daughter of former PGA tour golfer Gary Saylor, is seventh.
Dylan Hurrey fills the fifth spot and newcomers Brandon Frickman and Ryan Sitko are sixth and eighth, respectively.
Saylor, a senior, is one of five females on the team this fall, the most female participation ever for the Tribe. The other girls are 10th graders Kayla Marks, Amy Ma and Nisha Patel and freshman Addison Miller.
While making the Final Four again is an extreme longshot, the Tribe still has expectations.
“Our goal for this season is to improve every day in some way. I hope that we can be competitive in every match, but that is not going to be easy,” Brittain said.
“The PAC-10 is loaded with talented teams this year. Spring-Ford, Methacton, Boyertown, Pope John Paul, Owen J. Roberts and Perk Valley all have enough fire power to contend for the title. We hope we can add Upper Perk to the mix as early as next season,” he said.