CARLISLE—Both the calendar and the thermometer say that late May is still a ways off.
The Carlisle track and field team was seemingly not paying attention to either those measuring sticks Tuesday, because the Thundering Herd are already turning in some postseason-level results.
Both Carlisle squads fired on all cylinders against rival Cumberland Valley at Carlisle’s Ken Millen Stadium, where the Thundering Herd boys rang up a 110-40 victory and the girls rolled to 91-59 win in the Mid-Penn Commonwealth meet. The sweep of the Eagles was the first for the Herd under coach Ed Boardman, who took over the Carlisle program in 2008.
The most thrilling sequence of the day occurred just a few minutes into the meet, as the girls 3200-meter relay turned into an anchor-leg showdown between Cumberland Valley junior Mady Clahane and Carlisle junior Maddie Kole.
Clahane took the baton with a 4-meter lead, but Kole closed that gap and drew even as the two began the second lap of their leg. Clahane led by two or three steps as the two entered the front stretch, and the entirety of both squads rushed to the side to the track to lend vocal support.
“I knew I had to believe in myself in order to beat her,” Kole said. “My teammates lined up along the track and they really helped push me, cheering for me like that. That was a lot of motivation.”
The photo finish never materialized. Clahane tripped and went down roughly 40 meters from the finish — there was no contact between the runners — and Kole legged out the victory with a blazing 2:12 split time. The Carlisle junior barely made it across the finish herself, collapsing just beyond the line.
“She ran 2:12, that’s a lifetime PR,” Boardman said. “She just got the perfect race situation and she pushed herself to the limit, obviously. I think they were both ready to collapse.”
Both runners shook off the effects to the grueling race to post strong days — Clahane finished with victories in the 800 and the 3200 and Kole nabbed top-three finishes in the 400 and 800.
“I honestly was about to fall, too,” Kole said of the relay race. “I couldn’t feel my legs anymore. When she fell, I felt bad. I slowed down the pace the so I didn’t fall also . . . I was shocked when (Boardman) told me I ran a 2:12, and very happy. My goal for the year was to be around there.”
Kole’s effort was just one part of a big day for the Herd girls, as seven Carlisle athletes claimed individual victories. The only one to grab two first-place finishes was senior Shayla Dukes, who earned victories in the 100 and 200.
Carlisle was dominant in the boys meet, led by the a eye-opening effort from sophomore Deshawn Millington. The state champ in the triple jump got warmed up with a solid turn in that event, placing first with a leap of 47-1. He continued the run in the long jump, finishing second to teammate Isa Paschall (21-6) with a jump of 21-2.
But those were just the warm-up acts for the high jump: Millington cleared 6-4, a height that would have put him on the state medal stand in 2014. He just barely missed in his attempts at 6-5.
“I didn’t know it was going to be that kind of day coming in, but as soon as I did the triple jump I knew it was going to be a good day,” Millington said. “I came in at 5-4, and I was hitting the bar at 5-8, so I didn’t think I was going to get that high. But once I got to 5-10, I was just jumping over with ease.”
Plenty of Millington’s mates got in the act: Nine Carlisle athletes had individual wins, with two apiece coming from Millington and Isa Paschall, who in addition to the long jump also won the 100.