Carlynton girls track having best season in decades

Sunday, May 9, 2021 | 11:01 AM

When the 2021 WPIAL track and field regular season ended, there were a lot of familiar schools in first place in their respective sections. Teams that have earned a plaque from the district after earning a spot in the WPIAL team postseason.

However, you’ll excuse one local team from not knowing how to react to finishing first.

The Carlynton girls finished with a perfect record in Section 5-AA to earn the school’s first girls track and field section title in over 30 years.

“When the season first started, we didn’t know what to expect or who we would have out for the team,” coach and athletic director Nate Milsom said. “As the season progressed, we saw we had some athletes and won some very close meets over some very good teams. Going into the last meet against Chartiers-Houston and South Park, we challenged the girls as we knew if we put forth the effort, that we could pull it off.

“This was not only our first section title but the first time making the playoffs in probably just about as long. We did not tell our girls that were running the relay that we won until after the race as we wanted them to get a good time, and they did that. We lost the race to South Park, and the girls thought that we lost the meet and they were devastated. I called them together and told them that we had just won the section regardless of losing, and they went crazy. There were lots of tears of joy, that’s for sure.”

Carlynton has a co-op with Bishop Canevin in girls track, allowing for athletes from both schools to compete together since BC does not have a team.

Milsom feels working together smoothly as one team was a key to the Cougars’ success.

“I truly believe that these girls went out and competed for each other every single meet this year,” he said. “Girls were asked to step up in different events and were always willing to do whatever it took for the team. This is the closest group of girls we have ever had. They are so happy for each other’s success, and that is the reason they have gone this far.

“It is great to see because of the co-op we have with Bishop Canevin, you would not be able to tell which girls went to which school. They have all become such close friends during track season that it is truly a special group.”

Most track teams that enjoy this kind of success are usually led by a handful of special athletes. Milsom again emphasized that while they don’t have any record-setters, the Cougars have gelled into the perfect team.

“We do not really have standout athletes,” he said. “This was truly a team effort. We have some girls who we knew were going to take first place in certain events for us, but it was a team effort for sure.”

May is a busy month in the track season with the WPIAL team playoffs and district individual championships followed by the PIAA finals at Shippensburg University.

“Our girls expect to win no matter who we go up against,” Milsom said. “We will do the work needed and see what happens.”

While the emphasis has been on the team, Milsom is confident of some individual success along the way for some members of the Cougars teams.

“We have a lot of girls that have a good chance for individual success at WPIAL finals,” he said. “All three of our relay teams are coming together nicely at the right time, and we have some field athletes that are putting up nice marks, so it should be an exciting time. Our girls that have been to states before are telling the new girls all about it, so that is the main goal to get back to Shippensburg again.”

Now in his 14th season as Cougars track coach, Milsom says no matter what happens the rest of May, this has already been a memorable season.

“With the circumstances coming into the season, we had no idea what to expect,” he said. “We still only have 15 or 16 girls on the entire team, which is the smallest team in our section for sure. The girls worked so hard from Day 1, and I believe our coaches are the best around, so that is a perfect mix. We are a young team, so us as coaches are excited for years to come.”


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