Track and field season a success for Baldwin athletes
The track and field teams at Baldwin are part of a goal-oriented program led by Ed Helbig and an accomplished staff of assistant coaches.
“At the beginning of the outdoor season, I have a meeting with my coaching staff to discuss the upcoming outdoor season. We set goals for the teams,” said Helbig, Baldwin's veteran coach. “One of our goals is to put together a men's and women's team that can compete in the section and finish first or second in order to compete in the WPIAL team championship.
“The second goal is to set up programs to develop our individual athletes. The third goal is to get as many individuals to qualify for the PIAA championship.”
The Highlanders won the section championship this past season, then advanced to the WPIAL finals.
Team members consisted of Casey Conboy, Zach Dunn, Dave Johnston, Sean Kosslow, Joe McLaughlin, Tyler Morgel, Noah Wysocki, Zach Zovko, Dom Molinaro, Ummat Rizayev, Joe Bolla, Elijah Currie, Robert Hoffman, Arlen Hooks, Matt Konesky, Nick Lachut, Tony Mendez, Jack Mezeivtch, Mike Randal, Mike Starzynski, Kevin Sheehan, Vince Teahan, Jimmy Woderak, Ian Zandier, Aaron Novak, Logan Richards, Noah Bartic, Mike Badistibner, Jason Depretis, Ethan Hoey, Jared Koenig, Luke Mondella, Bailey O'Malley, Brendan O'Malley, Lucas Perfetti, Billy Wiles, John Ziegler, Jeffrey Joyce, Shane Gilbert, John Staley, Robert Abbiatici, Paul Briones, Shayne Henchell, Noah Klodowski, Angelo Priore and Andy Degenhardt.
Baldwin's girls team finished in second in section competition and reached the WPIAL semifinals.
Team members consisted of Jessica Berger, Jessica Conley, Jordan Hoydick, Emilee Jackson, Ashley Toth, Amanda Shiflet, Amanda Wood, Jasmine Wicks, Amber Yauch, Belma Pracic, Mariah Pacella, Katie Sainato, Kierstianna Ballard, Sarah Dempsey, Michaela Caratore, Alina Stahl, Teia Swiger, Hanna Kalwarski, Emily Yosi, Corrina Pittman, Laurel Bristow, Haili Cordell, Macy Hale, Kerri Herron, Madison Seitzinger, Devon Schroeder, Mackenzie Sendao, Malia Menez, Jenna Tarson, Tori Walker, Mia Fischet, Alexis Kennard, Korin Kuss, Marlo Mendez, Hanna Stock, Victoria Tamborino and Grace Vavro.
“Our goal of developing the athletes is determined through competition in various invitationals,” Helbig said. “We compete on almost every weekend during the season. These meets are for individuals to see how their training is going, and to see where they are in the ‘pecking order' of specific events.
“This allows the individual to move from one event to another in order to determine which will provide them with the best opportunity to qualify for the WPIAL individual championship, and hopefully onto the PIAA championship meet.”
A total of 32 Baldwin athletes qualified for the WPIAL championship meet at Baldwin Stadium, either as individuals or members of the four qualifying relay units.
Baldwin ended up with 10 medalists, one WPIAL champion and seven state qualifiers.
Lachut and Johnston, who finished one-two in the pole vault; Wicks (shot put, discus), Conboy (3,200), Hooks (300 hurdles), Bristow (shot put) and Stahl (long jump) advanced to the PIAA meet. Bailey O'Malley (shot put) and Richards (javelin) also were WPIAL medalists.
Conboy posted a time of 9 minutes, 30.34 seconds in the 3,200-meter run at the WPIAL finals.
“This year, I placed third in the WPIAL which is something I am happy about even though I didn't win,” Conboy said. “I ran against some very good kids who helped push me to run a good race. I was leading through the first seven laps. That wasn't my original plan, but for me that is just how the race unfolded.”
Bristow registered a toss of 38 feet, 4 inches in the girls shot put event.
“Going into WPIALs my goal was to throw a (personal record),” Bristow said. “I was pretty confident after my first throw because I threw a personal best. I was hoping to make it into the finals, and I knew it was going to be a close call.”
The state track and field finals were held recently at Shippensburg.
“The PIAA championship is a meet in which athletes must realize that they must do their best or close to it,” Helbig said. “When you are on a big stage, you must do your best or close to it because everyone else competing at that meet is also attempting to do their best.
“This is why our athletes practice as hard as they do: to have the opportunity to compete against the best in the state. All of our athletes did just that.”
Three individuals — Wicks (shot put), Johnston (pole vault) and Stahl (long jump) — were PIAA medalists.
“Alina just began jumping this year to help the team during the section meets,” Helbig said.
The veteran coach termed the 2017 outdoor season at Baldwin as “outstanding.”
“We reached several goals and set many individual PRs along the way,” Helbig said. “Now, we take some time off to recharge the batteries, because in a few months we begin the process all over again preparing for the 2018 indoor and outdoor seasons.”
Ray Fisher is a freelance writer.