Pottsgrove’s Kevin Basch wins the 500-yard freestyle during Tuesday’s PAC-10 dual against Upper Perkiomen. (Kevin Hoffman/The Mercury)
Pottsgrove's Kevin Basch wins the 500-yard freestyle during Tuesday's PAC-10 dual against Upper Perkiomen. (Kevin Hoffman/The Mercury)

POTTSTOWN — After three years of failing to win a single dual meet, the Pottsgrove boys have now made it two.

Pumped to again face a team their size, the Pottsgrove boys routed Upper Perkiomen, 101-47, Tuesday, in a Pioneer Athletic Conference dual meet at the Pottstown YMCA pool.

The Upper Perkiomen girls made it a split night for the two sides, beating Pottsgrove, 97-56.

Last week, the Pottsgrove boys also beat Phoenixville for their first win.

What seems to have turned the tide for the Falcons is they are working harder than ever and are more determined and more confident than in years past.

The Falcon girls have some catching up to do to the boys, with the Tribe girls clearly outnumbering them.

Upper Perkiomen’s Jackie Hammill wins the girls 200-yard individual medley during Tuesday’s PAC-10 dual meet against Pottsgrove. (Kevin
Upper Perkiomen's Jackie Hammill wins the girls 200-yard individual medley during Tuesday's PAC-10 dual meet against Pottsgrove. (Kevin Hoffman/The Mercury)

For both teams, it is more fun for both sides to line up against teams of similar size, leading to a more competitive meet.

"It's very impressive to see what our team has gotten to,' said Falcons senior Morgan Schreiber, who spend the first three years of his scholastic career without a team win. "All the veteran swimmers, all the new swimmers are doing such a great job. We're training harder than we ever have. It's definitely helping our winning capability. And I think we'll give some other teams a run for their money.'

And they looked like they will Tuesday night.

Junior Owen Agnew led the Falcons boys with four victories, winning the 50-yard freestyle (25.31), the 100 free (56.82), and anchoring the Falcons' winning 200 medley and 200 free relays.


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"Swimming a team your size makes it feel a lot more fair,' Agnew said.

Schreiber finished with three wins, touching first in his specialty, the 100 backstroke (56.40), swimming on the winning 200 medley and the anchoring the 400 free relay. Kevin Basch and Danny Berry each had two wins, with Basch taking the 500 free (5:09.96), Berry the 100 breaststroke (1:18.50), and both also swimming on a winning relay.

Brandon Umstead was the lone winner for the Upper Perk boys, touching first in the 200 free (1:53.98) and the 100 butterfly (56.05). It should be pointed out that Umstead is the lone holdover from the core of the Indians team that won two straight District 1-AA titles the past two seasons and finished fifth in AA at the PIAA Championships last year.

The Indians girls were led by Jackie Hammill with four wins, Hammill taking the 200 IM (2:07.98), the 100 fly (1:07.48) and swimming on the winning 200 medley and 200 free relays. Kristin Kilroy and Kirsten Siwy each had three wins, with Kilroy touching first in the 50 free (27.28) and swimming on the Indians two winning relays, Siwy taking the 200 free (2:07.98), the 500 free (5:40.65), and anchoring the winning 200 medley relay.

Upper Perkiomen’s Brandon Umstead wins the boys 100-yard butterfly during Tuesday’s PAC-10 dual meet against Pottsgrove. (Kevin Hoffman/The
Upper Perkiomen's Brandon Umstead wins the boys 100-yard butterfly during Tuesday's PAC-10 dual meet against Pottsgrove. (Kevin Hoffman/The Mercury)

With the win already secured for the Upper Perk girls, they swam the last two events, the 100 breast and 400 free relay, as exhibition.

Both sides have new head coaches, though neither one is by any means new to coaching. For the Falcons, Karen Youtzy, previously the assistant, is the new head coach.

Upper Perk's new co-coaches are Kyle Kuser and Brien Kalnoski. Kuser was previously an Indians assistant while Kalnoski served as a Boyertown assistant for 16 years, including the times when the Bears had those powerful boys and girls teams that dominated the PAC-10.

For Youtzy it was great to finally see Pottsgrove win again her first year in charge.

"The boys came in very excited for this today,' she said. "And now they are excited to have their second PAC-10 win.

" They've been working really hard, have been doing more yards, and are very determined as a team and individually. It's a good group of boys that are hard workers and we'll see what they can do.

"We don't have a lot of depth in girls, but they also working hard and getting us points.'

Agnew pointed to the increasing depth for the Falcons.

"We got a lot of new additions on this team and it really helped this team a lot,' Agnew said. "And we've all been working a lot harder this year. It's just all-around improvement. It was tough today. A lot of the races were pretty close. It was a fun meet. Two wins now, it's a big jump for us. It's good for our self-esteem and confidence as a team. And it's definitely going to help us want to get more wins. We're hungry now.'

For Schreiber, this season is his last hurrah on a team he has been such a big part of from the early building days. But there will be younger brother, freshman Dustin Schreiber, to carry on the tradition.

"It's good to see us get back to getting a couple of wins in the PAC-10,' Morgan Schreiber said. "We gave it our all today, gave it our all last week against Phoenixville, And when districts comes, we'll give it our all because we have a lot of individual qualifiers this year on the guys side, and we have a few relays that are going to go. It's definitely all positive.'

Upper Perk's Umstead doesn't think back to last year, when the Indians had such a deep crew. For him it its forward and onward.

"I have a lot of expectations that I need to hit,' Umstead said. "I definitely can do that with the coaches this year. They are doing a fantastic job with the practices. It's just a matter of getting stronger. And we're doing that in practices.'

Kalnoski is excited about the opportunity in front of him with the Upper Perkiomen program.

"I'm very excited to be here,' Kalnoski said. "We're working hard, doing the training. So we're making strides. It's a rebuilding year. It's a process and our goal is to get to the end of the season (districts and states), which is what we're training and building for.

"It is a challenge with so many from last year gone, but they are still successful, swimming well. We're going to win the meets that we can win. On the boys, there's only five boys. The nice things is, Brandon (Umstead), Ryan (Mercando), Mitch (Cairns) all have (district) consideration times in individual event, as do two of our relays. So I can conceive that we take all five of our boys to districts. On such a small team, that's an accomplishment.

"The girls, we will lose some very good seniors after this year. But we're working on them getting consideration times. They are very close. All three of our relays have qualified. They're doing a great job.'

Kilroy, a senior and one of the leaders on the Indians girls team, echoed everyone's sentiments about equal depth on both sides.

"It's much more exciting to swim a team your size,' Kilroy said. "We can have a little more fun while still competing hard and racing hard. We're working hard as a team and the season had been going good. Everyone has been dropping time from last year, so we've been doing pretty good this year.

"And I like the new coaches, absolutely. They've been working us hard to get good times, and they really like to focus on our techniques and everything at practices.'

And the Falcons girls are getting there, too.

"I really think we're building up because we're all practicing our hardest and getting better,' said standout Courtney Sheffer. "And I love our new head coach. We all aim to do our best and districts. It would be great if we all could go because we're mostly a family.'

"Today was a fun meet, "Falcons freshman Emily Hunziker said. "I dropped time, swam with really good people. It was a really good meet all in all.'

*Follow Rosemarie Ross on Twitter @RoseRoss31