In all, eight schools (Palmerton, Lehighton, East Mauch Chunk, Nesquehoning, Summit Hill, Lansford, Coaldale and Tamaqua) competed in track that spring.
Coaldale made it five straight in the winners' circle of the district Class B extravaganza at Pottsville.
Coach Ted Lithgow's Coaldale High Tigers were denied a sixth straight district title as Parkland prevailed despite Andy Keer's high scoring efforts.
The rugged Orange and Black clad weightman captured all the shot and discus events that season including a sweep in districts
Track doesn't seem to grab the headlines like it used to in our area, but it hasn't lost any of its glitter.
The focus today is mostly on meets and not so much on duals. Still, interest is mounting as the season heads into its stretch run before the May 18-19 PIAA District 11 championships.
Back when track was one of only four major sports along with football, basketball and baseball in most of the area schools, the entire track team was allowed to compete at districts.
It's not like that anymore. Now only the district's fastest 18 sprinters, fastest 12 distance runners and field events contestants are eligible except for the best 12 in 3200 meter relay, 800 run and triple, long and high jumps.
The scenario was far simpler, too, say 40 years ago, as I remember. Of course, track then was for boys only.
Let me tell you about the exciting season in the spring of 1952.
In my advance roundup that appeared in the Sunday Call-Chronicle of April 6, I predicted one of the finest campaigns in years.
I based my guess on several factors including the number of returning letterman from the 1951 campaign, which wasn't too shabby either.
Palmerton won Lehigh Valley League honors that year; Lehighton had captured its first Carbon County Meet crown and Coaldale made it five straight in the winners' circle of the district Class B extravaganza at Pottsville.
But, Tamaqua was about to make its move in 1952, I wrote, since the Tams were returning a bunch of veterans who had set all kinds of records the year before.
Palmerton finished unbeaten in '51 and looked even stronger for 1952 while Lehighton was missing only Lamont Smith, it's great distance runner who won every long distance run his senior year including the district and state mile and half-mile races.
I predicted Summit Hill and Lansford would be relying on their balance. Francis Macalush held the key to the Hillers' season, I wrote, somehow overlooking a promising sophomore sprinter by the name of Bobby Breslin.
As for Lansford, I figured with 45 candidates out for the team, including a dozen leftover lettermen spearheaded by senior miler George Bockrosh, coach Jack Chuckran's thinclads could maintain the school's prestige on the cinders.
Coach Bill Wilhelm's Palmerton Blue Bombers tipped their hand early in an interclass meet that drew the attention of all their opponents.
In the end, according to my wrap up of June 1, 1952, a lot of surprises took place. Coach Ted Lithgow's Coaldale High Tigers were denied a sixth straight district title as Parkland prevailed despite Andy Keer's high scoring efforts.