Last Updated: Tue Oct 25, 2022 - 5:27PM
Over the past few years, Franklin Regional has compiled several new additions to its trophy case. Among the sports that gained WPIAL hardware were the boys soccer and boys golf teams. Luke Kimmich was a key member of both squads, and he’s continued his career in both sports at Grove City College. Kimmich is featured in the latest edition of the Westmorland Alum Q&A.
Kimmich followed in his siblings’ footsteps in becoming a soccer standout at Franklin Regional. In his freshman year of 2017, the Panthers posted a mark of 16-3-0, including 10-2-0 in section play. As a result, FR qualified for the WPIAL Class 4A playoffs, and subsequently defeated Mount Lebanon. In the quarterfinals, though, the Panthers’ season came to an end with a loss against Canon-McMillan.
The following season, Kimmich helped the Panthers achieve a mark of 11-0-1 in the section. Back in the playoffs, the Panthers defeated Obama Academy, Hampton, and Thomas Jefferson to reach the WPIAL Class 4A Championship game. Pitted against West Allegheny, Franklin Regional notched a 1-0 victory to capture the gold. From there, FR entered the PIAA postseason, defeating Bellefonte and Erie Cathedral Prep before falling in a rematch against West Allegheny in the state semifinals. As a result, the Panthers concluded with a record of 20-1-1.
In Kimmich’s junior season, he helped the Panthers successfully defend their district title. Franklin Regional went 11-0-1 once again in section play, and then defeated Laurel Highlands, Trinity, and Blackhawk to return to the WPIAL Class 4A title match. Once again pitted against West Allegheny, the Panthers edged the Indians 2-1. In the state postseason, FR bounced Bradford and Erie Cathedral Prep, but came up short against Lower Dauphin in the semifinals to finish at 21-1-1.
As a senior, Kimmich helped guide FR to another championship appearance. The Panthers went 16-3-0 overall, including 13-1-0 in section play. In the WPIAL Class 4A bracket, FR defeated Knoch, Indiana Area, and West Allegheny, but came up short against Mars Area 2-1 in the championship.
Meanwhile, Kimmich helped guide the Panthers golf team to a WPIAL Class 3A title at the Cedarbrook Golf Course in 2020, as FR shot a combined 409, edging Fox Chapel Area by three strokes.
Following his graduation, Kimmich opted to continue playing both sports at Grove City College. As a freshman midfielder on the pitch in 2021, Kimmich appeared in all 18 matches, including 10 starts. During that action, he contributed five assists, which ranked second on the Wolverines. As a result, he was recognized as an All-Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) Honorable Mention. Collectively, Grove City went 9-9-0, including 7-2-0 in the conference, but the Wolverines fell to Bethany College in the PAC semifinals to conclude the season.
This campaign, Kimmich has played in 16 games, including 14 starts, compiling a goal and three assists. With the regular season concluding this week, GCC has posted a record of 11-5-0 overall, including 9-0-0 in the conference.
Meanwhile, Kimmich helped Grove City golf achieve a fourth-place finish in the PAC Fall Championships earlier this month.
Despite his hectic schedule, Luke took time to respond to questions about playing with his older brother at the college level, the difficulties of juggling both sports at the same time, and his fondest memories at Franklin Regional.
Q: How have you evaluated your play individually so far this season?
A: I would say that early on this season, I wasn’t performing well. I was dealing with some lingering injuries that were bothering me as I was playing. As the season progressed, I feel I have been playing much better; still, lots of room to improve on.
Q: What are your best attributes on the pitch?
A: I believe my best attributes include my vision on the field, as well as my attacking mindset. As an outside back, it is crucial for us to be able to get the ball to our wingers and midfielders, and I feel that I can see those opportunities very quickly. Generally, wingers don’t like to track back. By being an outside back who gets into the attack a lot, it creates a lot of 2v1s with the opposing outside back and helps to give our wingers different options.
Q: You play with your older brother, Matt. What is your relationship like with him, on and off the field?
A: Being able to play with him is such an incredible experience. We are extremely close, both on and off the field. We live two doors down from each other, which has been awesome. Being on the same team has made our relationship that much stronger. He has been a great role model to look up to and help me throughout anything tough. He is such a selfless person who I really look up to, and I am so grateful for us to be able to play together, both in high school and college. I am fortunate where I have been able to play with both Matt and my younger brother, Jake. Jake will be coming here next fall, so I will get to play with him again.
Q: What team and individual goals have you set for this season?
A: As a team, our goal obviously is to win a PAC championship. Coach Dreves has done so much for us that we owe this to him. Coming in, I obviously had individual goals, but as the season starts, it’s important to shift those to the team. I have tried to be a leader on the field and help the team to do as best as we can.
Q: You also play on the Grove City men's golf team. How do you juggle both sports?
A: It is tough, but both Coach Isles and Coach Dreves have been awesome with it. They are super flexible with each other, which has helped a ton. I am also only taking 12 credits during the fall semester while I’m in two seasons to help free up some time.
Q: What led to your decision to attend Grove City College?
A: There were a couple things that led me to my decision - my brother being here helped a lot, the opportunity to play multiple sports was a super big appeal to me, and the fact that it is a Christian school that stands for a lot of the things I do.
Q: What is your major, and ideal future profession?
A: I am majoring in finance, and with hopes to become a financial advisor and work with my dad.
Q: What has been your most challenging college course?
A: My most challenging course so far would be business statistics with Dr. Smith.
Q: You were a talented basketball player at Franklin Regional. What do you miss most about that sport?
A: I miss basketball the most during the winter season. December, January, and February are the months where we are completely off soccer and golf, and I have a lot of free time and I really miss it then. I just miss the competitiveness and the atmosphere that you get while playing basketball. It’s a very different atmosphere from soccer and golf. I play IM basketball, but it doesn’t completely fill that void for me.
Q: What was your fondest high school memory?
A: I would say that winning three WPIAL titles was the coolest for me. I was able to win one with both my older and younger brother, and then to win one with the golf team was also incredible. Being part of the teams to win the first WPIAL title in school history for two different sports was something I will never forget.
Q: Do you still follow the Panthers' athletics?
A: Of course. I am a big fan of the teams and still know a lot of guys there, so I stay in the loop. My younger brother, Jake, is in his senior year at FR, where he is playing soccer, basketball, and golf just as I did, so I still follow all the sports.
Q: Do you use water, a sports drink, or something else during soccer?
A: While I’m playing soccer, I drink water and Gatorade. I only sip on Gatorade during the game, because I feel weighed down if I have too much, so I usually just stick with water.
Q: What is a song or an artist that gets you in the right mindset before a match?
A: I almost always listen to some sort of country or Christian music. I’m not huge into rap music, so I usually just stick to those genres. In the locker room before games, we play a lot of throwback songs, to which I also enjoy listening.
Q: Who is your celebrity dream date?
A: No one specific for a date, but I would love to be able to hang out with Morgan Wallen. I’m a huge fan of his music, and think it would be super cool to have a conversation with him.
Q: What is a hidden talent you possess or a little-known fact about you?
A: I have a very large family; I am one of six kids and have 29 first cousins.