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Baldwin family's activities range from athletics to dog shows

randy jarosz | for the south hills record - Baldwin senior Tori Johnston (4)
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>randy jarosz | for the south hills record</em></div>Baldwin senior Tori Johnston (4)
randy jarosz | for the south hills record - Baldwin senior Mandi Johnston (11)
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>randy jarosz | for the south hills record</em></div>Baldwin senior Mandi Johnston (11)

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Top high school sports
By Justin Criado
Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
 

The Johnston family is competitive.

From the athletic fields to the dog show rings, this Baldwin clan is everywhere.

“It doesn't make time for a lot of dinners together because they're running around to different activities,” mother Tammy said.

From seniors in high school to fourth grade, siblings Mandi, Tori, David and Heidi are involved in numerous activities, including showing the family's four Beagle dogs in shows across the country.

“We like the kids to be a little bit more well rounded,” father Mike said. “We enjoy sports and as important as sports are to our family, we like the kids to see that there's other things out there as well.”

Both former basketball players, Mike and Tammy tried to get their children involved in athletics early, starting with twins Mandi and Tori.

Now senior guards in the Baldwin girls' basketball program, Mandi and Tori still are together on the hardwood.

“As we got older, growing into our own people is the same way we became our own players, but we work well with each other,” Tori said.

The twins helped lead Baldwin to 12-9 record this season, including a berth in the WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs. Mandi earned all-section honors.

As Mandi has decided to focus solely on basketball, Tori is a three-sport standout at Baldwin in girls' basketball, volleyball and track and field. She served as captain of the Lady Highlanders' volleyball team this past season.

“My little sister is the water girl for the high school (girls' basketball team),” Mandi said of her younger sister, Heidi. “It's nice having your little sister there being involved.”

As a fourth-grader at St. Gabriel's Elementary School, Heidi is becoming quite the athlete herself.

Heidi competed in the 2013 USA Track and Field National Junior Olympic cross country championships Dec. 14 in San Antonio, Texas, finishing the 1.8-mile course in 12:21.

“She just really excelled this past year,” said Mike, who runs 5Ks with Heidi whenever possible.

David, the Johnston's middle child, is a quarterback on the Balwin freshman football team, as well as a member of the track and field program.

“Sports are good for kids,” Tammy said. “It keeps them active. It keeps them busy. They don't have time to sit around and do nothing. It teaches them responsibility and dedication and commitment.”

Not to be overlooked, the Johnston's pet Beagle dogs and rabbits compete in shows regionally and nationally, including the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City's Madison Square Garden.

“We have rabbits that we show and we have Beagles that we show,” Tammy said of the family's newest hobby. “It's a really weird situation.”

But no matter what activity it's been over the years, one thing has remained constant.

“Anything we wanted to do my mom and dad supported,” Mandi said. “Everything we've done they've supported, and they're there for everything.”

Justin Criado is a freelance writer.

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