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Lehighton’s Petit-Clair triplets making mark in different sports

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    Jake, Nate and Matt Petit-Clair are all enjoying successful fall sports seasons for Lehighton. The triplets are seniors, with Jake and Matt starting for the Indians’ soccer team, and Nate starting for the unbeaten Lehighton football team. BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS

Published October 04. 2017 11:07AM

Does it make a difference if you’re the oldest or the youngest or the middle child in the family?

Not if you’re Jake St. Clair, who is 58 seconds older than his bother, Nate, who is 40 seconds older than his brother, Matt.

Jake, Nate, and Matt Petit-Clair, age 17, are what you might expect from triplets born fewer than two minutes apart. They grew up liking many of the same things, especially playing soccer and football.

“We started football on a team called the Robins in the second grade,” said Matt, “We played together until Jake tore his ACL and his meniscus.”

“The doctor told me that if I played football again and re-injured my knee, I wouldn’t be able to run track, which is another sport I like,” Jake explained.

So Jake gave up the gridiron for the track and the soccer field. He currently plays center back for the Indians alongside Matt, who plays midfield and defense. Recently, Matt scored a hat trick against North Schuylkill. He also runs the 400 meters, 800 meters and a couple relay races for the track team.

Only Nate continued on with football, and he’s glad he did. He starts at wide receiver and free safety for the undefeated Tribe. He’s also the placekicker, a position that just seemed to fall into his hands, or pun intended, onto his foot.

“We were struggling with our kicking game last year and Nate asked me if he could try out,” said Lehighton football coach Tom McCarroll. “I think he missed his first two extra point attempts, but he’s been spot on ever since.”

“Last year, I didn’t play a lot so I asked coach about kicking because I wanted to be more involved,” said Nate. “Now I’m a two-way starter and I kick too”

Asked if he would try for a field goal with the game on the line, McCarroll said, “Absolutely.” He estimates that Nate, who kicked a 34-yard field goal against Schuylkill Valley, has a range of about 40 yards.

All three boys say they were more competitive against each other when they were younger, but now they support each other. Matt and Jake attend Nate’s football games and Nate goes to his brothers’ soccer games when he can.

They are used to being mistaken for one another. Their friends can tell them apart, but their teachers often cannot. Sometimes, their heights are helpful as Nate is a few inches taller at 6-2 than Jake who is a bit taller than Matt. Those who know the triplets well can also tell them apart from their behaviors.

“I’m the funny guy,” said Nate. “No matter what I’m doing I like to have a good time.”

“I’m the most serious,” said Matt, “ especially in school where I work hard to get good grades.”

While they were growing up, Jake played referee whenever Matt and Nate got into fights, which was quite often. As seniors in school, all three have become great friends with each other, so much so that they wouldn’t mind going to the same college next year if they could all agree on the school. Nate, who is president of the Future Business Leaders of America at Lehighton, and Jake plan to major in business, while Matt remains undecided.

Rob Petit-Clair, the father of the fraternal triplets, and a teacher at Pleasant Valley High School, is obviously proud of his sons.

“They are all great kids,” he said. “They all volunteer to help with the Special Olympics.”

Rob and his wife Missy added that there is a possibility that their sons could attend either West Chester University or St. Joseph’s University next year.

They are all Penn State football fans, but have their differences about NFL teams. Nate roots for the Eagles, Jake for the Steelers, and Matt is a Redskin fan.

There is at least one other difference among the three and that is their favorite food. Nate and Jake love pizza, but Matt’s favorite is pork chops.

For the triplet Petit-Clair brothers, a life-long close friendship after high school sports is a sure thing, but they might have one problem to face.

Where are they going for dinner?

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YOU BE KILLIN’ EM ... Jasmine Mooney of Marian recorded her 1,000th career kill against Halifax last Thursday. The Fillies are currently ranked first in Class A, according to the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association poll. Her teammate, Gianna Agosti, surpassed 1,000 career assists in September.

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WE’RE BAACCCKKK ... Lehighton defeated East Stroudsburg North 7-0 in field hockey on Oct. 2. With the win, the Indians, who play independently, clinched a District 11 playoff berth for the second consecutive year.

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ROARING START... The Panther Valley volleyball team is rolling. The Panthers had a signature win against powerhouse Blue Mountain on Sept 26 in a game that went five sets before PV prevailed. The Panthers are currently 10-0 in Schuylkill League Division 2 play and 12-0 overall.

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FORE ... On Sept. 25, Marian’s Nick Kurzinsky finished ninth at the Schuylkill League meet at the Mahoning Valley Country Club. Tamaqua’s Carson Schoener came in 10th.

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SWEEP ... Marian stole the show during a Schuylkill League cross country meet against Mahanoy Area and Schuylkill Haven on Sept. 27. Both the Marian and Mahanoy boys and girls teams entered the meet unbeaten. Tina Capparell finished first in the girls’ race, while Brandon Stasulli won the boys’ race.

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