14 returning champions set to compete at Baldwin Invitational

Thursday, May 2, 2019 | 10:16 PM

Rain is in the forecast for Friday. That means its time for the Baldwin Invitational.

The prestigious track and field event will be held for the 46th time, and it seems the weather is always an issue.

But that won’t stop 69 high schools and thousands of athletes from Western Pennsylvania and Ohio from competing in one of the most competitive high school track meets in the country.

The Baldwin Invitational is a meet for athletes to shine against some of the best and allows them to gauge how they stand for the upcoming WPIAL individual championships, which will take place May 16 at Slippery Rock University.

Friday’s meet begins at 1 p.m.

Baldwin had hosted the WPIAL championships until this season.

There are 14 returning champions expected to compete Friday.

The field returnees are: McDowell’s Caleb Mabins (long jump), Baldwin’s Bailey O’Malley (shot put), Belle Vernon’s Grace Henderson (high jump), North Allegheny’s Casey Burton (long jump), Norwin’s Jessica Kolesar (triple jump), Elizabeth Forward’s Brianna Spirnak (javelin) and Hempfield’s Mackenna Orie (shot put).

The returnees on the track are: Mt. Lebanon’s Patrick Anderson (1,600), North Allegheny’s Burton (100), Butler’s Liz Simms (800), Brownsville’s Gionna Quarzo (1,600), Oakland Catholic’s Hannah Schupansky (3,200), Oakland Catholic’s Jayla Ellis (100 hurdles) and Mt. Lebanon’s Molly Mangan (300 hurdles).

Henderson leads a strong group of high jumpers. The top seven all return.

Kolesar, who has the top leap in the long jump, edged teammate Lexi Gray last year. Gray has the top leap in the triple jump this season.

• The Pine-Richland Invitational has 57 teams from Western Pennsylvania entered for its Friday meet. Action there begins at 1 p.m.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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