Baldwin’s O’Malley twins combine for 6 medals at WPIAL championships
By: Ray Fisher
Friday, May 24, 2019 | 7:01 PM
The O’Malley twins will be long-remembered in Baldwin track and field lore.
Seniors Brendan and Bailey O’Malley reeled in six medals between them at the WPIAL Class AAA track and field championships May 16 at Slippery Rock.
Brendan proved to be unstoppable in his specialties, taking first place in the 200-meter dash (22.09 seconds), 400 (48.74) and long jump (23 feet, 21⁄4 inches). He added a fourth medal to his collection by running a leg in the boys’ 400 relay. The Highlanders placed third in that event.
“Brendan and Bailey had great days,” Baldwin coach Ed Helbig said. “In my 44 years as a coach at Baldwin, I have never had an individual win three gold medals at the WPIAL championship meet. It is a major accomplishment.
“Both have been outstanding individuals and great role models for the young athletes on the team. They set goals, work hard to achieve those goals and compete extremely well. I’ll enjoy watching them compete against the best athletes in the state.”
Brendan O’Malley, who qualified for four events in the PIAA finals May 24-25 at Shippensburg, set new school records in the 400 and long jump at the WPIAL meet.
“We had talked it before the meet, and Brendan decided not to run the 400 at the state meet,” Helbig said.
Brendan was modest in his reaction after his sensational WPIAL performance.
“It was amazing,” he said. “Everything went totally right, better than it was supposed to. I am very happy and excited to get to go to states.”
Bailey O’Malley successfully defended his WPIAL shot put championship with a heave of 52-9.75. Bailey garnered third place in the shot put at last year’s PIAA meet.
Bailey and his training partner, senior Jason Depretis, placed fifth and seventh, respectively, in the discus event with tosses of 138-11 and 134-4.
The Highlanders’ 400 relay unit registered a time of 42.87 at the WPIAL meet.
“Last year, I went to our football coach, (Loran) Cooley, and said that I wanted to put together a 4-by-100 relay team made up of football players,” Helbig said. “So, running backs Angelo Priore and Nick Lachut, who were already out for track, were joined by receivers/defensive backs Jarren Kelly and Nasser Penn. They were very successful and placed 11th at the WPIAL finals.
“Nick graduated and headed off to Penn State Behrend to continue his education and continue competing in track and field. The 4-by-100 relay team needed another member, so this year we added quarterback Mason Stahl. The team continued to do well, but at the Baldwin Invitational we added Brendan to the group. This quartet has run together only three times and has lowered their time each time they have run, including the WPIAL championship meet.”
All four members of the relay unit are juniors.
Penn also was a double medalist in two individual events, placing second in the triple jump (45-1⁄2) and seventh in the long jump (21-81⁄2).
“Nasser has worked hard on each of the three phases of the triple jump and has shown improvement each time he has competed,” Helbig said.
The surprise of the day for Baldwin came from the girls 3,200 relay unit, consisting of seniors Macy Hale and Devon Schroeder, sophomore Lena Barakat and freshman Kaylee Garfalo.
“Since putting this group together, they lowered their time each time they competed,” Helbig said. “They ran their fastest time of the season at the WPIAL meet.”
The relayers ended up seventh thanks to a time of 9:47.82.
“Towards the end of the season, we put our 4-by-8 together and we realized we had a shot at medaling at WPIALs,” Hale said. “We all put our focus on this race, and we PR’d at WPIALs. It was really great to have all four of us running season PRs and Lena and Kaylee, the two underclassmen, running in the 20s was very impressive. We were all very happy to have a good end to the season by medaling.”
Baldwin had 14 individual and five relay qualifiers for the WPIAL championships.
Other individual finalists from Baldwin were Priore (100, 200), John Ziegler (800), Joe Kosslow (300 hurdles), Chrisopher Lucas (pole vault), Depretis (shot put); Barakat (400), Hale (800) and Mia Fischetti (pole vault)
“Not everyone can medal,” Helbig said, “but the majority of those individuals and relay teams bettered their PRs, so it was a successful meet for all the athletes.
“Now, it’s on to prepare for next season.”