Deer Lakes’ McCoy riding high after Baldwin win

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Monday, May 9, 2022 | 9:05 PM


Carson McCoy just missed out on gold in the 800-meter run at last year’s Baldwin Invitational.

The Deer Lakes senior returned to the track at Baldwin High School in the wind and rain Friday and didn’t let the 800 title slip from his grasp.

He ran a personal-best time of 1 minute, 53.20 seconds, beating the rest of the 58-runner field by more than three seconds and cutting more than 4 seconds from his 2021 Baldwin time.

For McCoy, it was another affirming step in his goals to make his mark in his final trip to the WPIAL championships next week at Slippery Rock University.

“The weather (at Baldwin) was a little annoying, but I train in whatever conditions are going on at the time, so I am pretty much ready for anything. I’ve seen it all,” McCoy said. “It wasn’t going to be really fast times because of the wind and rain, but I just wanted to race, do my best, and try to get the win. I hung in the pack and stuck on the leader until about 150 (meters) to go, and I just kicked it in from there.”

McCoy said Baldwin is in a sweet spot of the season with WPIALs right around the corner.

“It’s a nice tune-up for me and for a lot of others,” McCoy said. “After you’re done there, you can start your taper and really work on fine-tuning what you need to do to be ready for WPIALs. I was able to test myself against some of the best 800 runners in the entire WPIAL. It was a nice feeling to know that I am progressing well and could bring home a win from a meet of this level against the guys I was going against.”

McCoy is the top-ranked boys runner in the 800 and 1,600 in Class 2A.

It was feast and famine all wrapped into one day for McCoy at last year’s WPIAL championships.

In the 1,600 run, he placed second overall, and his performance boosted him to bigger things a week later as he captured the PIAA championship in the event at Shippensburg University.

McCoy fought through painful blisters on his feet at WPIALs, and he struggled through the 800 run — contested after the 1,600 — finishing in last place.

A first big test of McCoy’s mettle this spring came April 23 at the Butler Invitational, and he passed with flying colors.

He captured the 1,600 in a time of 4:13.19 and edged Sage Vavro from Class 3A Butler at the finish. Vavro clocked a time of 4:13.64.

“Butler was my first really big race this year,” McCoy said.

“It was nice to get a win like that under my belt at that point. I was able to close the race pretty fast. It also was the first hot day of the season. So that was a pretty big confidence booster for me and helped me keep building momentum.”

McCoy came into the spring outdoor season with a great deal of momentum as he finished the indoor season with a third-place finish (1:55.08) in the 800 at the Pennsylvania Track and Field Coaches Association State Championships on Feb. 27 at Penn State University.

It won’t be all solo performances for McCoy at WPIALs as he also is prepping for the 1,600 relay alongside fellow senior Fletcher Hammond and juniors Aiden Herman and Nathan Buechel.

The quartet served notice it will be a force to be reckoned with at WPIALs with a second-place finish at Baldwin in a time of 3:32.13.

Only Riverside was better than the Lancers on Friday as it took the title in a time of 3:29.78.

“All four of us are pretty good friends, and that bond really translates on the track because we want to work hard to be the best for each other,” said McCoy, who anchors the relay.

“I really like where we are right now. We’re working on some little things to be best prepared for WPIALs.”

The Deer Lakes 1,600 relay, with Buechel, Herman and McCoy and graduate Colton Spence, just missed a WPIAL medal last year as it finished ninth in a time of 3:38.95.

It ended up only 17 one-hundredths of a second away from eighth-place Greensburg Central Catholic.

“I am just excited for WPIALs,” McCoy said. “The competition is some of the best in the state. I want to be right there for a chance to win (the 800 and 1,600) and also have a lot left to help the 4×400 get to states.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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