Northeast Times

The Wright way

— The Wright Fam­ily has had quite an im­pact on George Wash­ing­ton High School's ath­let­ics. Broth­ers Jon and Zach played base­ball and lacrosse; now, they sup­port the young­er Jake and Luke in their base­ball en­deavors.

(from the left) Jon, 22, Jake, 17, Luke, 15, and Zac Wright, 19, at Wash­ing­ton High School, Fri­day, June 22, 2012, Phil­adelphia, Pa. Jake and Luke are cur­rently in­volved with the school’s base­ball team, and their two older broth­ers were also in­volved when they at­ten­ded Wash­ing­ton High. (Maria Pouch­nikova)

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Typ­ic­ally, when you think of the Wright Broth­ers, your mind wanders to the in­ven­tion of the world’s first suc­cess­ful air­plane flown in Kitty Hawk, N.C., more than a cen­tury ago. The four Wright broth­ers in North­east Phil­adelphia’s Fox Chase sec­tion are something spe­cial, too. But they are known for their ex­cel­lence in ath­let­ics and aca­dem­ics rather than with air­craft.

The eld­est Wright broth­er, Jon, 22, gradu­ated from George Wash­ing­ton High School in 2008 and will gradu­ate from Penn State in Decem­ber. Jon was a sol­id two-year varsity out­field­er for Wash­ing­ton’s base­ball team.

The second-old­est broth­er is Zach, 19. Zach gradu­ated from Wash­ing­ton in 2011, and is at­tend­ing Penn State Abing­ton. Zach played two years of varsity lacrosse at Wash­ing­ton and was a part of the school’s first-ever lacrosse team.

The two young­er broth­ers, Jake, 17, and Luke, 16, are in the midst of their own high school ca­reers at Wash­ing­ton.

Luke, who will be a sopho­more in the fall, was a man­ager for the base­ball team this past spring. While Luke en­joyed the ex­per­i­ence, he plans to try out for the team in 2013 and con­trib­ut­ing on the field.

“It was cool know­ing that I got to watch Jake play while be­ing the man­ager,” Luke said. “It was good know­ing I was also do­ing something good for the school and earn­ing com­munity ser­vice hours at the same time.”

And that brings us to Jake, the Wright broth­er who is re­cog­nized as the most tal­en­ted ath­lete in the fam­ily.

“I’m proud of him,” Jon Wright said. “I love go­ing to the games and watch­ing Jake dom­in­ate in the (Pub­lic) league. And yes, he is the best ath­lete in the fam­ily.”

Jake has been play­ing foot­ball and base­ball since he was 5 years old, and all of his hard work is pay­ing off big time at Wash­ing­ton. Jake heads in­to his seni­or year as one of the most gif­ted ath­letes in the school.

Jake has been a varsity mem­ber of the foot­ball and base­ball teams at Wash­ing­ton in his first three years. He has already raked in more hard­ware in only three years than most kids dream about in their life­times, all while achiev­ing an im­press­ive 3.88 grade-point av­er­age.

For the Eagles’ foot­ball team, Jake has been the kick­er/punter for two Pub­lic League Cham­pi­on­ship teams, re­ceiv­ing first team All-Pub­lic hon­ors as a kick­er this past sea­son. Jake enters his seni­or sea­son hop­ing to help bring le­gendary foot­ball coach Ron Co­hen his second straight title and third in four years.

“We’re usu­ally strong every year, so we should have a good chance at de­fend­ing our Pub league cham­pi­on­ship,” Jake said.

In base­ball, Jake has been even bet­ter. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound teen­ager heads in­to his seni­or year hav­ing already bashed eight ca­reer home runs (eight more than his broth­er, Jon.) He is be­com­ing widely re­spec­ted as one of Phil­adelphia’s top high school slug­gers.

Jake played first base dur­ing his first two years at Wash­ing­ton, but switched to out­field and pitch­er this past year.

“I feel like I’m best and most com­fort­able at first base,” Jake said.

Either way, his dom­in­ance at the plate has been con­sist­ent. Jake re­ceived second team All-Pub­lic hon­ors as a first base­man his sopho­more sea­son, and first-team All-Pub­lic re­cog­ni­tion as an out­field­er this past sea­son.

However, while Jake has achieved more in­di­vidu­al suc­cess on the base­ball dia­mond, he has achieved more team suc­cess on the grid­iron. Wash­ing­ton’s base­ball team has been elim­in­ated in the semi­finals in each and every one of Jake’s three years on the team, something he hopes to change in 2013, es­pe­cially with area rival (and 2011 & 2012 cham­pi­ons) Frank­ford gradu­at­ing eight of nine starters.  

“I feel like we have a good chance in get­ting to the cham­pi­on­ship,” Jake said about his up­com­ing seni­or sea­son. “We have our whole squad com­ing back. I like our chances.”

Jake hopes to see his young­er broth­er Luke con­vert from man­ager to team­mate next sea­son and help Wash­ing­ton get to that elu­sive cham­pi­on­ship game.

“He really likes base­ball, and he’s try­ing out for the team next year,” Jake said. “He got along with the team very well, and it was great to have him around with me last sea­son.”

Jake will enter his seni­or year at Wash­ing­ton with a ton of con­fid­ence and de­term­in­a­tion. Ju­di­ciously, his fo­cus isn’t on the awards and the ac­col­ades that he likely will con­tin­ue to re­ceive. His goal is simple: get bet­ter each and every day. 

“I hope to do the best I can,” he said. “Every year I want to im­prove on last year and do bet­ter than the year be­fore.”

Post high school, Jake has as­pir­a­tions of at­tend­ing Temple Uni­versity as an in­ter­na­tion­al busi­ness ma­jor. He hopes to play a sport at Temple — he just is not sure which one. ••

End­Frag­ment

You can reach at andrew.porter@cbsradio.com.

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