BY JEFF FALK
Everyday at practice and at competitions, Barb Mellinger greeted her student-athletes with an inspirational and motivational quote. Her latest phrase was a quote from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, ‘Parting is such sweet sorrow’.
On Monday, following 12 years of touching lives and reaching souls, Mellinger stepped aside as Palmyra high school’s head cross country coach and the Cougars’ track and field distance coach. An English teacher at Palmyra, Mellinger is leaving to pursue similar opportunities at Milton Hershey School.
Mellinger’s resignation comes two months after the graduation of the most successful female distance runners in Cougar history, one that included Maria Tukis, Miranda Salvo and Katie Dembrowski. With that group leading the way, Mellinger-coached Palmyra teams won the PIAA Class AA 3200-meter track and field championship, the 2012 District Three Class AA team cross country championship, the 2012 District Three Class AA team cross country championship, countless Lebanon County crowns and numerous other team and individual titles.
Mellinger, 52, has committed to continuing to train Palmyra distance runners until the school district hires her replacement.