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Kelly, Mastroianni pace Baldwin runners at Gateway invite

| Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The Baldwin Highlanders opened the 2013 season with a second-place finish at the 25th annual Gateway Cross Country Invitational held Saturday in Boyce Park.

The Highlanders, the defending invitational champions, placed second this year to Fox Chapel, which won by a narrow 10-point margin.

“The outlook is very promising for this year,” said Bonita “Bunny” Schmidt, Baldwin's co-head coach along with Rich Wright. “This team works very hard, their focus is good, and they are very coachable.

“They enter every race very seriously and are willing to work very hard for the improvement needed to succeed. Rich and I are very encouraged.”

Fox Chapel was paced by twins Ethan and Colin Martin, who led wire to wire and finished first and second with identical times of 17:25.

Baldwin was led by varsity mainstays George Kelly, a senior, and Dennis Doyle, a junior, who ended up fifth and seventh in 18:13 and 18:19, respectively.

Rounding out the Highlanders' top five were senior Mike McLaughlin, who placed 18th in 19:01; freshman Casey Conboy, who ended up 23rd in 19:19; and junior Mark Demore, who was 25th in 19:28.

Providing depth in the Baldwin lineup were junior Jake Phillips and sophomore Kevin Taylor.

The leading teams in the boys' varsity division were Fox Chapel, with 68 points; Baldwin (78), Bethel Park (92), Plum (114) and West Allegheny (131).

“We have a good blend of seniors to freshman, and we had a great three weeks leading into the season,” Wright said. “Our women's team is young but they are go-getters. We will work hard and push through the season. Our boys can get the job done, but need to work as a team. This has all the make-up to be a successful season.”

In the girls' varsity race, Norwin regained the invitational title, defeating runner-up Hempfield by a 13-point margin.

The Lady Knights finished with 88 team points, followed by Hempfield (101), Laurel Highlands (109), Fox Chapel (113) and Baldwin (117).

Senior Alicia Mastroianni led the Baldwin's girls' team with a 22:54 time and 13th place individual showing.

Mastroianni was followed by sophomore Alex Barr (23:15), 19th place; junior Stephanie Bott (23:31), 23rd place; freshman Abby Barr (24:00), 29th place; and sophomore Dighan Kelly (24:19), 33rd place.

Also competing for the Lady Highlanders were sophomores Daria Och and Erica Koenig.

“We do have some new athletes on the team (this season),” Schmidt said. “They have come very well prepared and, like their veteran teammates, work well together.”

Bria McMahon of Franklin Regional won the girls' varsity race with a 20:38 time in a see-saw battle with runner-up Alexis O'Shea of West Allegheny, who posted a 20:41 time.

INVITATIONAL NOTES: Baldwin's Alex Murray (fourth), Sean McLaughlin (fifth) and Joe McLaughlin (eighth) placed in the top 10 in the boys' junior varsity race at the Gateway Invitational.

The Highlanders' junior varsity team ended up in fourth place, behind Fox Chapel, Hempfield and Franklin Regional.

Macy Hale paced the Baldwin runners in the girls' middle school race.

Katie Jarocki has joined the Baldwin cross country program as an assistant coach.

“Katie has been a real bright spot,” Wright said, “and has helped greatly with our training.”

Ray Fisher is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5820 or rfisher@tribweb.com.

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