McCarthy named ‘Centennial League Coach of the Year’

Julianna Poe, Trending Editor

Coming off of a record season for the Manhattan High Varsity girls golf team, head coach Paige McCarthy was awarded the title of Centennial League Coach of the Year.

“[I’m] very honored,” McCarthy said. “I was really happy. It’s voted on by the other coaches, so I think that always means something when it comes from your peers.”

Before she coached golf, McCarthy taught at Manhattan Catholic School and coached basketball and track. In the early 2000s, under former MHS girls golf coach Larry B. Craft, McCarthy was the assistant coach for four years. Three years ago in 2018, head coach McCarthy and assistant coach Kim Crusinberry received the reigns to the girls golf program.

“[My favorite part of coaching is] seeing the kids make progress and just how happy it makes them,” McCarthy said. “We really [like to] have them look [at] where they began — beginning of the season or the beginning of their careers — to where they are now … Sometimes you feel like you didn’t do your best but then when you look at the whole picture, [you realize]: ‘oh my gosh, I really did … improve a lot’ [and that’s] what we want them to think to themself.”

On Oct. 1, the girls placed first at the Centennial League tournament with a score of 347. As a team, the girls averaged individual scores of 90. Less than two weeks later on Oct. 12, Manhattan High secured first yet again with a 350, with Lawrence-Free State five strokes away in second. Not only were these huge wins for the girls, they also broke two Washburn Rural win-streaks. Prior to this season, Washburn had an 11-game win-streak at League and a nine-game win-streak at Regionals.

“I would say the League meet really played a huge part in [the award],” McCarthy said. “Washburn Rural is so strong … and [with our] girls winning and playing so well, it probably caught a lot of people off guard. I think that winning Regionals also helped people realize that we had a really good bunch of girls.”

While wins can build up a team, according to McCarthy, perseverance and reflection are the true measure of success.

“Don’t take yoursel[f] too seriously,” McCarthy said. “I think that the other coaches know how I relate to my girls and a lot of times I take the attitude with them, … but it’s only golf. We want [our players] to play seriously and we want [them] to improve and concentrate but mainly, if you’re not at your best that day, [just] keep things in perspective.”

Overall, the girls collected six first-place wins and three second-place wins as a team, with a sixth place finish at State.

“It was just a fun ride,” McCarthy said. “It [seemed] that at different times, different players stepped up … I think from a team aspect [it’s] a lot of fun [when] you don’t have to depend on just one person. I think it makes the players more accountable.”

With the 2020 girls golf season coming to a close and the graduation of five seniors, the team hopes to welcome many newcomers.

“[When] involved in an extracurricular activity, … the kids get to see us [teachers] in a different setting and vise versa,” McCarthy said. “I think it’s really important for them to see us having fun and just acting as normal people and not just seeing us as teachers.”