Carol Barkalow has had some notable firsts in her life.
Barkalow was the first girl to try out and make the Shenendehowa boys soccer team. She was part of the inaugural West Point class to include women. And she was a member of Army's first women's basketball team.
Now, Barkalow can add being part of the inaugural class that will be inducted into Shen's Athletic Hall of Fame in October. She joins a group that includes long time football coach Brent Steuerwald, basketball greats Greg Koubek and the Barnes twins (Debbie and Laura), soccer standout Miles Joseph and wrestler Greg Parker.
I'm completely blown away, said Barkalow from her Florida home. "I'm honored and humbled to be part of this class."
Barkalow didn't set out to be a trailblazer. She said her decision to try out for the Shen boys soccer team in 1972 was based solely on the fact that she loved to play the sport, and there wasn't a girls team to try out for.
"I went into high school having played soccer the previous two years by playing pickup games with the boys," said Barkalow. "One kid, Tommy Nosal, took me under his wing and taught me some things to make me a better player."
Though Barkalow made the squad, she couldn't suit up for the Plainsmen because New York state high school athletic regulations at the time prohibited girls from playing on boys teams. So, she wound up suiting up for Shen's field hockey team, where she became Section II's top goal scorer.
"Soccer was my sport, but I loved doing anything athletic," said Barkalow, who also played basketball and was part of the track team at Shen. "I loved doing anything where I had to work hard just to see if we could come together as as team."