Baldwin’s O’Malley twins on display at host invitational

Saturday, May 12, 2018 | 10:21 AM

The O'Malley twins put on a dazzling display of athleticism at the 45th annual Baldwin Invitational held May 4 at Baldwin Stadium.

The Baldwin juniors reeled in five medals between them, including Bailey O'Malley's sterling individual effort in the shot put event. Bailey captured first place with a heave of 53 feet, 2.75 inches.

“I've always dreamt of this moment ever since I was little,” Bailey said. “I would see my sister (Alexis) at this meet, and my parents (Ryan O'Malley and Alicia Bennett) would tell stories about them competing at the Baldwin invite. I put many hours of hard work to get this moment, and it was all worth it in the end. I can't let up now with the WPIAL and state meets around the corner.

“I set the bar high last season after my seventh-place finish in the WPIAL. I want to come out on top this year at the WPIAL meet, and try to medal at the state meet. Another goal I set for myself this season was to beat my coach's (Mike Wallace) best (shot put mark) from high school, 54 feet, 6 inches.”

Brendan O'Malley was a four-time medalist at the invitational, taking second in the 200-meter dash (22.8) and long jump (22-4.25), placing fourth in the 400 (50.55), and running a leg on the Highlanders' fifth-place finishing 1,600 relay unit.

“I really didn't have an expectations going into the meet,” Brendan said. “I knew I wanted to improve on my events but that was it. I think I performed really well and I felt good while I was competing, earning two major PRs in the 400 and long jump. I really consider myself a versatile athlete, and think I hover around the same level for all my events.

“Ever since Bailey and I were young and started track when we were 8, we've always worked hard and competed with each other and other people we've met and made friends with over the years. For me, one of the greatest things I wanted to achieve was breaking my dad's high school record in the long jump that he won the WPIAL AA championship with, which I did by almost five inches.

“I am very proud of my brother, and we will both continue to work hard and get better for next season, hoping to win WPIAL and state medals.”

In the shot put event, Bailey O'Malley defeated runner-up Sam Mastro, a South Fayette senior who logged a toss of 51-6.5.

“Bailey's been on the cusp of some big throws. He's been flirting with it,” Baldwin coach Ed Helbig said. “He's consistently throwing in the 50s; he had a real good performance (at the invitational).

“He's just so quick in the shot put and discus circles. He's one of the best shot putters in District 7.”

Bailey's mark was a personal best, although he has bigger aspirations for the end of the season.

“Going into the meet, I knew I was going to do well because I was ranked among the best throwers in the WPIAL,” Bailey said. “My coaches and I prepared all week to make sure I would be able to compete at a top level for the Invite. I knew if I did good in the Baldwin invite, it would prepare me to do well at the WPIAL meet.”

Owner of a lofty 4.2 GPA and a National Honor Society member, Bailey focuses on his track and field career year-round.

“Doing one sport allows me to train and be able to compete to the best of my abilities,” he said. “I do a lot of weight training in order get stronger and quicker for track season. I take pride in being a student-athlete that can succeed in the circle and in the classroom.

Brendan O'Malley, meanwhile, narrowly missed out on titles in the 200 and long jump events, as Penn Hills senior Alex Trower (22.01) and McDowell junior Caleb Mabinis (22-5), respectively, edged out the versatile Baldwin athlete.

“I really want to jump 22 feet, 6-plus inches in the long jump to put myself second all-time in Baldwin track history,” Brendan said. “I would like to run into the 49s for the 400, and for the 200 a 22.5 or lower would be a really good mark for me. I'd like to make states in all my events and go as far as I possibly can.”

Brendan, like his brother, focuses on track and field year-round. Brendan has a 3.49 GPA and is a member of the National Art Honor Society.

“Track has multiple seasons packed into one year, so I have to stay training year-round for winter, spring and summer track,” he said. “I try to do volunteering with my friends through all the races coach (Rich) Wright has a part in running, such as the Pittsburgh Marathon.”

Helbig praised Brendan's performance at the invitational, and for the season.

“Brendan's one of the best 400 runners, one of the best 200 runners and one of the best long jumpers (in Class AAA),” Helbig said. “And in the relay, he won's be denied. He's one of the catchers.

“Brendan has been steadily getting better and better in all his events. He's done a phenomenal job. I'm just worried about him getting tired.”

Although twins, the O'Malleys are anything but identical on the track and field circuit.

“This is their sport. They want to do track. It's in their genes,” Helbig said. “They have good work ethics; they lift religiously. They probably push each other harder in the weight room than any coach could. Since their freshman year, they've been self-motivated to be the best.

“They have two different personalities, but they know what the have to do. They're very much role models for everyone else. Brendan is the leader of the running events; Bailey is the leader of the field events. They're both great kids. It's just a great family.”

The O'Malley tandem led a strong contingent of Baldwin competitors at the invitational. The host school ended up with 14 medal-worthy performances.

For the boys team, sophomore Angelo Priore finished second in the 100 (11.23), senior Logan Richards took fourth in the javelin (170-10), junior John Ziegler captured eighth in the 800 (2:01.33) and senior Nick Lachut placed eighth in the pole vault (13-0).

Brendan O'Malley, Lachut, Ziegler and senior Mike Starzynski clicked for a 3:30.6 time in the 1,600 relay.

Three members of Baldwin's girls team were medalists, paced by senior Laurel Bristow in the field events.

Bristow zeroed in fourth place in the shot put (40-7), and fifth place in both the discus (119-7) and javelin (124-3).

Senior Alina Stahl earned second place in the long jump (18-3.75), and junior Macy Hale placed eighth in the 800 (2:23.4).

“Alina's goal is to break the school record,” Helbig said. “She's still quick and still fast; only now she's stronger.”

Seneca Valley won the boys team competition with a 65.5-point total, followed by North Allegheny (61), Butler (55), Baldwin (50.5) and Penn Hills (43).

Butler, with 65.5 points, finished first in the girls team competition, followed by Oakland Catholic (61), Norwin (60.5), Hempfield (52.58) and Mt. Lebanon (43). The Baldwin girls placed ninth.

The host school at the day-long meet was well-represented at the meet.

Along with the medalists, Baldwin's boys team was represented at the stadium by freshman Jerran Kelly (100), Hooks (200, 400), sophomores Nasser Penn (200) and Caden Harsh (800, 1,600), senior Joe Bolla (1,600), sophomore Ted Boehm (3,200), seniors Kevin Sheehan (3.200) and Mike Starzynski (110 hurdles, high jump), freshman Joe Starzynski (300 hurdles), senior Robert Hoffman (long jump, javelin), Currie (triple jump), seniors Sedrick Riddick (triple jump) and Eli Geary (pole vault), junior Jason Depretis (discus) and sophomore Eylon Phiri (shot put).

The girls team also was represented by sophomore Victoria Tamborino (100, 300 hurdles), freshman Julia Stipetic (100), Stahl (200), freshmen Alyssa Lacko (200) and Alexis Kennard (400), Hale (mile), sophomore Makenzie Shandor (800), junior Kerri Herron (1,600), senior Emily Yosi (1,600), freshman Gina Bolla (3,200), junior Devon Schroeder (3.200), freshmen Taylor Weiss (hurdles) and Megan Puzak (100 hurdles), junior Vanessa Taylor (triple jump) and sophomores Mia Fischetti (pole vault), Emma Brandwene (discus, shot put) and Kathy Nguyen (javelin).

Ray Fisher is a freelance writer.


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