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Karns City grad made her mark with javelin

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By Stephen Catanese
Friday, April 13, 2012

There`s more to effectively throwing a javelin than simply picking up a spear and tossing it — a lesson high school and collegiate track standout Carrie Miles learned well.

'Everyone thinks you just throw it like you`d throw a ball,' Miles said. 'My whole career, especially in high school, you`d always have the boys (who) come up and think it was easy. Then they`d throw it, and I`d throw it 20 feet further.'

Miles, then Carrie Bullman, a 2000 graduate of Karns City, was a three-sport standout in high school. She played softball, volleyball and track and field, earning a myriad of all-section honors in the process.

Her accomplishments have earned her a place in the Armstrong County Sports Hall of Fame.

'There were times when I`d throw a javelin in my softball uniform, get a mark, and then go pitch a softball game,' Miles said. 'It could be time consuming, but I wouldn`t miss any of it for anything. Injuries, whatever. I was always competing.'

While softball always was at the center of Miles` heart, it was with a javelin in hand that she made her mark.

'The first time I picked up a javelin, I was kind of a natural,' she said, crediting years of building upper-body strength in other sports, including swimming, for her early success.

Miles was an all-section track selection from 1998-2000 and earned a trip to the PIAA championships as a junior. It didn`t take long for Clarion to take notice and offer her a spot on the track team.

There, she quickly realized that she`d need to adjust to succeed.

'It just seemed like when I went to college, I was a little behind in terms of technique and things like that,' Miles said. 'I never really realized how good I was until we started competing.'

She broke the school`s record in the javelin throw in short order and became the first Golden Eagle javelin-thrower to earn an invitation to the NCAA Division II championships a sophomore — an invitations she received as a junior and senior, as well. Her highest finish was 11th in the nation as a junior in 2003.

'(The first time I qualified), it kind of hit me, ‘Oh my god, I can`t believe I made it here,` ' she said. 'It was 100-percent reassurance that I made the right decision pursuing track.'

By the time she graduated, Miles earned numerous PSAC honors and was named Clarion`s track MVP in her final year.

Miles, 30, is a 7th grade math teacher at Kittanning, where she also is in her second year as the school`s girls track coach. And while she developed a strong understanding of all track events in college, she still holds a special place for the javelin.

'The best feeling is once you let that one go and it flies just the right way,' she said. 'Before it hits the ground, you know everything`s just the way it`s supposed to be.

Additional Information:

Armstrong County Sports Hall of Fame

When/where: 7 p.m. April 29/Laube Hall, Freeport

Tickets: $20.

Contact: Dennis Wolfe, 724-882-3557

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