Labash, Kelly pace Baldwin at annual Mingo Classic

| Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012, 8:55 p.m.

Christian Labash and George Kelly led the Baldwin boys' cross country team to a third-place finish last week at the Mingo Classic held at Mingo Creek Park.

Labash, a senior, posted a time of 16:46 and placed second overall in the team scoring in the boys' varsity division race.

Kelly, a junior, finished fifth with a 16:52 time, while junior Mike McLaughlin secured 16th place in 17:07.

“Both (Labash and Kelly) have improved all season. George broke 17 (minutes) at Central Catholic, then Christian did the same at Mingo,” Rich Wright, Baldwin's co-head coach said. “Both have had great workouts this season. Both also have had setbacks, and now are on track to help us factor in the WPIAL finals on Oct. 25.”

Labash, Kelly and McLaughlin were complemented by sophomore Dennis Doyle (17:39), senior Garrett Coyne (17:41) and senior Colin McLaughlin (17:48) in 32nd, 34th and 37th place, respectively.

Connor Dayton, a senior, also registered a time of 18:14.

South Fayette won the boys' varsity division championship with 72 overall team points, followed by Bethel Park (79), Baldwin (89), Canon-McMillan (108) and Upper St. Clair (130).

Also finishing in the top 10 were Gateway (171), Chartiers Valley (198), Peters Township (201), West Mifflin (306) and Ringgold (314).

Other team participants included South Park, Chartiers-Houston, McKeesport, Trinity, Elizabeth Forward, Waynesburg, Thomas Jefferson, Washington, Carrick, Fort Cherry, Brentwood and Steel Valley.

Thomas Jefferson was paced by sophomore Anthony Gentilcore, with a 19:25 showing, followed by juniors Dan Schrum (19:47), Gabe Ackman (20:08) and Tyler Sestito (20:17), along with sophomore Tim Grassi (19:49).

Other Thomas Jefferson runners included freshmen Cole Devine and Tom Roberts, juniors Chris Sichi and Jesse Roller, and sophomore Sean Birch.

Brentwood's leading runner was junior Brandon Striplin (18:28), followed by sophomores Adam Meyers (20:31) and Dave Betz (20:57), senior James Eagle (21:41), and junior Andrew Stofesky (20:44).

Greg Casey, a junior, also competed for the Spartans.

The Baldwin Lady Highlanders took fourth place in the girls' varsity division race, as senior Ashley Czerniewski was the pace-setter for the local squad.

“Ashley's running well. She had a PR (personal record) at Mingo,” Wright said.

Czierniewski earned fifth place in the team scoring thanks to her 20:22 performance, ahead of teammate Alexandra Barr, a freshman who placed eighth with a 20:45 time.

Freshman Erica Koenig was next in line for the Lady Highlanders with a 12th-place showing and a 21:00 time.

Koenig was followed by senior Annie Chester (23:04), junior Megan Varney (23:33), sophomore Stephanie Bott (23:43) and senior Maura Bacik (23:44).

Upper St. Clair won the girls' varsity division race with an overall team total of 54 points, ahead of Peters Township (92), Bethel Park (104), Baldwin (126) and South Fayette (129).

Rounding out the top 10 were Canon-McMillan (134), Ringgold (177), South Park (190), Thomas Jefferson (218) and Waynesburg (297).

Emma Volk, a sophomore, led the Lady Jaguars with a 21:54 time and 28th-place showing, followed by juniors Marie Miller (22:19) and Hannah Holden (25:33), and seniors Alyssa Arnold (22:26) and Lia Meden (22:42).

Junior Alyssa Gephart and senior Nicole Schmitt also competed for Thomas Jefferson.

The Brentwood Lady Spartans wrapped up 14th place in the girls' varsity division, as senior Adau Deng led the team with a 24:25 time.

Deng was joined at the race by Brentwood freshman Mia Jandric (26:30), sophomores Jessica Nordeen (28:17), Kasha Simmons (29:11), Mary Grace Hines (30:07) and Marissa Cook, senior Sydney Stankus, and freshmen Jennifer Nyair and Alex Walsh.


The Baldwin boys' team also participated in the annual Central Catholic Invitational, taking ninth place in the varsity A division race.

Kelly, McLaughlin, Doyle, Coyne and sophomore Jake Phillips were the leading runners for the Highlanders.

Juniors Adam Arnold and Justin Marstellar, plus sophomores Mark Demore, Sean McLaughlin and Justin Geary also competed.

Seton-La Salle and Brentwood placed 11th and 12th, respectively, in the boys' varsity B division race.

Gavin Ennis, Elijaj Barret, Joe Farnan, Bennett Grefenstette and Jordan Denk represented the Rebels; while Striplin, Betz, sophomore Justin Mondry, Stofesky and Casey ran for the Spartans.

The Baldwin, Seton-La Salle and Brentwood girls' teams participated in the girls' varsity B division race, securing sixth, ninth and 10th, respectively.

Barr, Koenig, Chester, Bott and Varney led Baldwin, followed by freshmen Katie Winter and Megan Harding, and sophomores Emma Chester and Morgan Geyer.

Jenny Murtha, Jeanne Farna, Dominique Cognetti, Elise Zielinski, Mary Farnan and Maddie Parker represented Seton-La Salle.

Deng, Jandric, Nordeen, Hines and Cook ran for Brentwood.

Baldwin's senior boys, girls lauded

The Baldwin cross country program held senior recognition day earlier this week against visiting Fox Chapel.

The senior members of the Baldwin boys' team are Labash, who finished first against the Foxes; Colin McLaughlin, who placed sixth; Coyne, seventh place; Dayton, ninth place; and Camella, 22nd place.

The Highlanders easily defeated the visitors, 17-38, while the Lady Highlanders lost a close 28-31 decision.

The senior members of the Baldwin girls' team are Czerniewski, who took first place against Fox Chapel; Annie Chester, 12th place; Julianna Fortunato, 13th place; Bacik, 18th place; Raquelle Reinheimer, 29th place; and Nicki Wilkinson, 31st place.

Fortunato competed for the first time in 2012 following a season-long stint recovering from a serious injury.

“Julianna finished 13th overall and was the sixth Baldwin girl to cross the (finish) line —not bad for her first race back,” Bunny Schmitt, Baldwin's co-head coach, said. “She wanted to run because of senior rec. I know it was a challenge for her; she has an achillies heel issue, and some pain after the race.”

The Highlanders improved to 9-2 overall, while the Lady Highlanders dropped to 5-6 on the year.

Baldwin, Phillips win JV contest

Baldwin, behind Phillps' outstanding performance, earned first place in the boys' junior varsity race at the Mingo Classic.

Phillips finished first in 18:01 to lead a group of four top 10 runners for the Baldwin squad.

Demore took third place in 18:10, freshman Kevin Taylor captured fourth place in 18:11, and Arnold ended up in sixth place in 18:33.

Sean McLaughlin placed 11th with a 18:56 time, followed by senior Michael Camella, freshman Alex Murray and Geary.

Thomas Jefferson zeroed in on eighth place in the team competition in the boys' junior varsity race.

The Jaguars were represented by sophomore Craig Bourgeois, junior Ben Bretlic, seniors Sean Ray and Jacob Balistreri, freshman Chris Rondinelli and junior Justin Szarmach.

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

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