Helbig inducted into Pennsylvania track and field hall of fame
Ed Helbig is a familiar face on the high school track and field scene in Western Pennsylvania, and beyond.
Baldwin's head track and field coach was honored Saturday, as he was inducted into the Pennsylvania Track and Field Coaches Association Hall of Fame at the state indoor track and field finals held at Penn State University.
Helbig has served as head track and field coach at Baldwin since 1994.
“This is a great honor for one of our coaches, school, and community,” said Vince Sortino, Baldwin's athletic director.
Helbig joined two other former Baldwin athletes in the PTFCA hall of fame. Baldwin graduates Ron Semkiew (1970) and Carol Zajac (1990) were inducted in 1996 and 1997, respectively.
“Looking at the names of the individuals who have been inducted into the hall of fame is impressive,” Helbig said. “So, it is special to be nominated, but to be voted in and recognized by your peers from across the state is an honor.”
Helbig's track and field resume indeed is most impressive:
• Founder and director, Tri-State Track Coaches Association; 1992-present.
• WPIAL steering committee; 2004-present.
• Meet director, Baldwin Invitational; 1993-present.
• Meet director, South Hills Classic; 2004-present.
• Meet director, WPIAL Class AAA team championships, Southern qualifier.
• Pennsylvania Track and Field Coaches Association all-state selection committee; 1992-present.
• USA Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association member.
• Baldwin track and field clinic organizer; 1993-present.
• PIAA official; 1990-present.
• PTFCA jury of appeals member; 1992-present
• Official, WPIAL cross country championships.
Helbig, who was an assistant track coach at Baldwin from 1976 to 1993, and former Thomas Jefferson track coach Chuck Stout combined efforts to start the Tri-State Track Coaches Association 22 years ago.
Helbig has been head coach of Baldwin's indoor track program since 1991. Via email, he talked about the growth of the indoor track and field season.
“Indoor track and field is a winter sport that is under the supervision, guidance and guidelines set forth by the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association,” Helbig said. “The PIAA passes the direct supervision of indoor track and field to the Pennsylvania Track and Field Coaches Association. All meet results are reported directly to the PTFCA for verification. The PTFCA is also responsible for hosting the state indoor track and field championship meet.
“There are several local associations throughout the state that schedule and conduct meets for its membership. Each association sets its own rules, regulations and schedule.”
TSTCA membership covers Western Pennsylvania — as far east as Altoona, west to the Ohio border, north to Erie, and south to the West Virginia border.
This winter, TSTCA scheduled four meets, one being its recent championship meet.
More than 1,700 athletes participated in meets during the indoor season, representing more than 90 school districts.
At the state indoor championships, more than 800 athletes, representing 70 school districts, entered in the competition.
The Pennsylvania High School Track and Field Hall of Fame was established in 1995.
A selection committee consisting of more than two dozen coaches, officials and journalists collects and reviews information about individual nominees.
Each year, six to 12 athletes, one coach, and one contributor are inducted into the hall.
Athletes become eligible for nomination five years after their high school graduation.
Semkiew was a three-time WPIAL and PIAA champion in the shot put and discus.
He was the first high school athlete in the state ever to throw the shot put over 70 feet (70-1.75), which still ranks as the third best in state history.
Semkiew also threw the discus a distance of 191-5.
Zajac won WPIAL and PIAA cross country titles in high school, as well as 1,600- and 3,200-meter championships.
She went on to become an NCAA champion at Villanova University.
Ray Fisher is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5820 or email@example.com.