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Mastroianni paces Baldwin girls cross country to history in Virginia

| Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
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Baldwin's boys' and girls' cross country teams participated in the Maymont X-Country Festival last weekend. The Lady Highlanders finished in first place in the white division; the Highlanders placed third in the silver division.

The Baldwin girls' cross country team made history at the Maymont X-Country Festival last weekend in Richmond, Va.

The Lady Highlanders, led by senior Alicia Mastroianni, took first place in the girls' white division for the first time in school history.

Baldwin has made an annual trek to Virginia for the past eight years.

“We've been going down there a long time,” Rich Wright, Baldwin's co-head coach, said. “The girls really stayed focused. Our top six girls all placed in the top 15. We would have won the bronze race with how many points we had in the white race.”

Mastroianni, junior Stephanie Bott and sophomore Alex Barr placed third, fourth and fifth, respectively, with times of 21:42.57, 21:46.95 and 21:49.57 to lead the Lady Highlanders in the team scoring.

“Alicia really stepped up and ran well,” Wright said. “The great thing about Alicia is she's such a team player. She's so focused on the team, and she's such a great kid.”

Baldwin's fourth- and fifth-place finishers were sophomore Dighan Kelly, with a 21:58.42 time, and freshman Abby Barr, with a 22:12.77 time.

“We're excited by what the girls are doing,” Wright said. “I just like how they finished within seconds of each other.”

Sophomores Erica Koenig and Daria Och also placed in the top seven among Baldwin runners, and were followed by sophomore Megan Harding, sophomore Katie Winter, junior Stephanie Swift, sophomore Mackenzie Nolan, junior Sarah McCuskey and senior Megan Varney.

The Baldwin girls defeated runner-up Patriot High School by 11 points. Westfield, Atlee and W.T. Woodson rounded out the top five in the team scoring.

The Baldwin boys' team took third place in the silver division competition with a 112-point total.

Westfield won the team title with 95 points, followed by Clover Hill, Baldwin, Canon-McMillan and Galax.

“It was a good showing for the boys,” said Wright, who shares the head coaching role at Baldwin with Bonita “Bunny” Schmidt. “We finished only 17 points out of first place.”

Dennis Doyle, a junior, led the Highlanders with a fifth-place showing in the individual scoring.

Doyle posted a 16:58.7 time to set the pace for his teammates — senior Mike McLaughlin (17:28.55), sophomore Kevin Taylor (17:45.18), and juniors Mark Demore (17:49.9) and Jake Phillips (17:52.52).

Casey Conboy, a freshman, and George Kelly, a junior, also placed among the Highlanders' top seven runners.

The Baldwin coaches presented the girls' team plaque to Varney, and the boys' team plaque to senior Justin Marstellar.

Varney and Marstellar have been nursing ankle injuries throughout the 2013 season.

“We decided to present the plaques to them following the races,” Wright said. “They are two of the greatest kids you could have on a team.”

The Baldwin girls' team opened this week with a 5-1 record, with wins against West Mifflin, McKeesport, Canon-McMillan, Chartiers Valley and Trinity.

“It's been awhile since the girls have had a winning season,” Wright said.

The Highlanders were 4-2 overall heading into this week's competition.

Ray Fisher is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-388-5820 or rfisher@tribweb.com.

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