Golf, Basketball, Volleyball
Favorite athlete: Tiger Woods
Favorite team: Philadelphia 76ers
Favorite memory competing in sports: Undefeated 2 years at Snyder Middle School (29-0)
Most embarrassing/funniest thing that has happened while competing in sports: Forgetting to put my jersey on before the game
Music on Playlist: J Cole, The Weeknd, The Killers
Future plans: West Chester University to study business
Words to live by: “There are two things you can control every day: effort and attitude.” Coach Ron Morris
One goal before turning 30: Shoot par
One thing people don’t know about me: I like to play poker with my friends
By GORDON GLANTZ
The scene was Council Rock North High School.
The hosts ambushed the favored visitors and built a shocking 2-0 lead over Bensalem’s volleyball team before the Owls came roaring back for a gut-check win of three straight sets to earn the 3-2 win.
Leading the comeback, with a plenty of help from his friends, was outside hitter Jack Wineburg with a career-high 22 kills.
“We never really got off the bus,” said Wineburg of the slow start. “We pulled a reverse sweep, and it was definitely awesome. In the last set, we were down, 9-14, and we came back and won. It was awesome and definitely one of the best games that I have ever been part of. The coach told me I had the green light.”
When the Owls clinched a share of their program’s first ever SOL National Conference crown with a win over Abington, he connected for another 18 kills.
“Things really clicked for him late in the season,” said coach Tim Linehan. “He plays basketball, so he doesn’t have an offseason. He rounded into form at the right time.”
It has been a long and strange trip for Wineburg, who really hadn’t played volleyball until high school.
Said Wineburg: “If you would have told me my freshman year that I would be getting (recognized) for volleyball, I would have never believed it. I’m just happy that (Linehan) encouraged me to try out.”
Linehan remembers the recruiting pitch well.
“I taught him in middle school, I coached him in basketball in middle school, and I always tried to drop volleyball in the back of his head,” the Owls’ volleyball coach. “I’m always recruiting guys, and he came out as a freshman.”
His freshman season was lost to COVID, making Wineburg a virtual rookie when asked to help out the varsity team in a time of need.
“As a sophomore, he actually had to step in and play a little bit of varsity minutes because Dylan Young, the team’s first team All-SOL hitter, broke his ankle with a month remaining in the season,” said Linehan. “He got a little taste of varsity experience as a sophomore, started last year. Last year we underachieved a little bit. We were right around .500, didn’t make districts. This year we've put our best foot forward, and he’s obviously a big reason why.”
The Owls, who fell to William Tennent in the district quarterfinals, closed out the season with a 17-4 record.
“That’s the best record, by far, of any volleyball team ever at Bensalem,” Wineburg said. “We were No. 3 seed in Districts. We won the SOL. Well, we split it with Tennent and Pennsbury, and that’s the first time our school ever won volleyball, too. It’s definitely historic.”
An all-league honorable mention golfer in the fall, Wineburg plays basketball in the winter as an undersized power forward and then hits the ground running come spring for the volleyball team.
Translation: He is not a part of much, if any, offseason work with the volleyball team.
“No, and that’s the crazy part,” said Linehan. “When it’s basketball season, it’s basketball season, and I respect that. I’m not going to get somebody injured in the offseason when we’re not in season, so that’s the crazy thing. I think that’s why he actually really just came on late in the season - not that he wasn’t great at the beginning of the year, but he had a great last two weeks. I think it was because he was hitting a midseason form. He didn’t play in our club tournaments. He wasn’t at the open gyms, so he rounded into form at the right time.”
And none of it comes as a surprise to Linehan.
“He’s a great kid,” said the coach. “I’ve known him since seventh grade. He’s a leader, people rally around him. He’s taken on a leadership role; he’s a competitor. I have some guys where volleyball is their only sport, whereas Jack is a three-sport athlete who’s been through the grind of basketball, so he’s really taken on a leadership role, the emotional leader we really needed.”
It was back in seventh grade when Linehan taught Wineburg in social studies.
“When eighth grade rolled around, he just tried to encourage me to come and try out my freshman year,” said Wineburg. “I was coming to some workouts in eighth grade and I guess he just saw some potential.”
A Forever Game
As is the case with volleyball, Wineburg was new to the links as a golfer once he got to high school.
“I started freshman year,” he said. “That was my first year of playing, ever. My dad and my grandpa got me to go and try it.”
Little by little, he improved.
“I definitely improved a lot in the last four years, and it is probably the most fun sport I play,” he said. “I do it on the weekends with my friends and stuff.”
And, in the distant future, when he is too brittle for volleyball or basketball, he will still be able to hit the links.
That is not lost on Wineburg.
“I can do it until I’m 200 years old,” he joked.
And if he is to try to make any of the teams at West Chester University beyond the club or intramural level, golf might actually be the one for the admirer of “the best athlete of all time,” Tiger Woods.
“They have intramural volleyball and basketball, so I will definitely be into that,” he said. “If golf has tryouts, I’m going to see if I can walk on and see what happens.”
Unlike volleyball and golf, Wineburg had been playing organized basketball since fourth grade.
“I really got into it in seventh grade,” he said. “We went undefeated in middle school, two years in a row. It was great. We were perfect. Coach (David) Nieves, was a detective in the police department. He was great and really encouraged me when I was in middle school.”
The momentum continued in high school, with Wineburg and close friend Eric Gonzalez jumping in head-first.
“I ended up swinging varsity freshman year for basketball,” he said. “Basketball has been awesome. We went to states my freshman year and my junior year. It’s been great. I loved playing basketball for Bensalem.”
And that love did not waver, even when his senior season didn’t quite go as planned.
“We started off the season 6-0,” said Wineburg. “We felt really good. Then, I guess we played teams that scouted us. We were a young team. Me and Eric were the only seniors on the team. I think our lack of experience on the varsity level is probably what made the season not go the way we wanted. We were the 25th seed of the 24 seeds that made (the district playoffs), so we were just on that line.”
Wineburg may not have been a headliner on the basketball team, but his contributions did not go unnoticed.
“Jack was a really important part of our program,” Bensalem coach Ron Morris said. “It was awesome to have him for four years. He did a lot of little things that we asked of him that didn’t show up in the box score. He’s somebody we could count on to show up and just do anything we asked. He’s played 1 through 5 over his career. He’s defended pretty much every position as well. He was just someone we could always count on to show up when we needed him.
“It’s great seeing him grow from when he came in as an eighth grader to now.. He’s going to be hard to replace because he does all the little stuff. I’m not going to lie – it is weird this offseason. We’re starting our games, and there’s no Jack or Eric (Gonzalez). It’s definitely different. I’m just happy for him. He’s doing well academically. It’s tough that he’s moving on, but it’s a pleasure to see the growth. That’s why we do what we do.”
Wineburg, willingly does the dirty work, bumping and grinding inside against taller guys with his 6-1 frame.
“I was a forward,” he said. “I would say I played (power forward) most of my life. I’m a little undersized for the position, but I never had a problem. My junior year, we had a guy on our team who was, like, 6-5 and he got hurt for a few games. I ended up playing center. I had to guard some big guys. I was always willing to fill whatever spot that needed to be filled – whether I had to handle the ball a lot or cover a guy who was 6-7.
“I’m definitely the dirty work guy. I want to put numbers up on the board as much as anyone else on the team, but I had three first team all-league players my junior year. This year, we had Antonio Morris and Eric Gonzalez, who probably both averaged 20 points. I was just doing the dirty work. I was trying to move the ball as best as I could and trying to make the best play.”
While basketball fell shy of expectations as a senior, there were many memorable moments during his four years as part of the program.
“There were a couple of cool things that happened during my time at Bensalem, like going to states and also playing at Temple University,” he said. “I’m not touching the court. I’m just getting water, but just the experience of going there was fun.
“In my junior year, we also made (state) playoffs. We drove up to Central Dauphin. We went to Elizabethtown to shoot around. We all got food before the game. We took this really nice bus. That whole experience, traveling with my team, that was really fun.”
Add being around his coach, Ron Morris, and his memorable quotes to the list.
“He is a very quotable guy,” said Wineburg. “One of them is, ‘Be a goldfish.’ He says they are the happiest animal in the world because they have a 10-second memory, so I like that one. Another is that ‘tradition doesn’t graduate,’ meaning that anyone who puts on a Bensalem jersey is fighting for the school and all the alumni and coaches, too. The one that really stuck with me, though, is that the two things you can always control are effort and attitude. You can’t always control all the variables in life, but you can always control your attitude towards it.”
And Wineburg has applied that outside of sports, like in the classroom and activities (Blue Crew, run by Morris, and Student Government).
He also boasted a 3.89 weighted GPA.
In terms of making it all fit, time-wise, he had the ideal role model.
“My sister (Emily) was also heavily involved in sports,” said Wineburg. “She is four years older than me. She played soccer, lacrosse and basketball. I guess I just learned from her that you have to make time to do important things. Time management is just something you learn along the way.
“My parents (John and Cashia) have always preached that to me, too. Figure out what is important and what is on your priority list and take the time to get everything done and don’t bite off more than you can chew.”
His parents top the list of people he’d like to thank, but the list also includes his coaches, from middle school on up.
While he plans to major in business at West Chester where he will be rooming with several Bensalem friends in a suite, Wineburg is not putting any restraints on where he will end up in life and on what he will be doing.
“I chose business, but that’s really broad,” he said. “I wouldn’t say I’m really set on what career I want to go into.”
Wineburg added that he will minoring in media, as he is deeply involved in the television network (Owls Television Network) at his school. He is one of the executive producers of the morning show and edits videos for the school and school district.
He also produces award-winning short films, winning first place at Film Fest in his school.
“That’s one of my main passions, so I definitely want to continue with that in college,” he said, adding that he is looking forward to participating in those same opportunities at West Chester. “It’s not a very broad career field, which is why I chose business. With business, I can apply it to a lot of things.”