Baldwin’s O’Malley brothers shine at PIAA track meet
Bailey O’Malley capped his junior track and field season at Baldwin with a career-best showing at the PIAA finals at Shippensburg.
O’Malley registered a toss of 55 feet, 9.25 inches in the boys shot put event, finishing in third place in the Class AAA division.
“I was real happy to come out in third place, which is one spot ahead of what I was ranked,” O’Malley said. “I started out slow, but I got more comfortable as the competition went on, and I was able to hit 55-9.25 on my first throw in the finals.
“I couldn’t have hoped for a better result in my first state championship appearance. Also, to be able to accomplish my goal for the season at states is the perfect way to end my best track season yet.”
O’Malley, whose previous best toss was 54-4, achieved one of his seasonlong goals of beating the mark (54-6) set by his throwing coach, Mike Wallace, in high school.
Competing in front of big crowds at the state finals is an experience O’Malley, this year’s WPIAL Class AAA shot put champion, won’t soon forget.
“It was unlike any other meet I’ve ever been to,” he said. “I am used to seeing the same group of throwers at every meet, but at states there are so many unfamiliar faces. To be able to throw with the best of the best made for the most fun I’ve had competing all year.
“The crowds were also much bigger than any meet I have been to. To see that many people come to see you compete can make some people nervous, but for me, it gets me even more psyched to throw the best that I can. I have never heard as many people cheer for me to throw than I did at states. It was definitely a unique experience. I just can’t wait to get back next year.”
O’Malley’s twin brother, Brendan, also was a PIAA medalist with a 21-11.5 distance and eighth-place finish in the long jump. He finished as the WPIAL runner-up in the long jump.
“States are a whole different beast than what I am used to,” he said. “Every person out there was better than the last, and you had to be at the top of your game to even compete. I jumped well, yet not my best. No one seemed to jump well because of the heat.
“Overall, going from 13th ranked to getting an eighth-place medal was a great feeling, although I feel like I could have done much better. The whole experience was like no other, making me more nervous and excited than ever before. I cannot wait to do it again next year.”
Baldwin senior Laurel Bristow was a double medalist at Shippensburg, taking sixth in the girls javelin (130-3) and seventh in the shot put (39-9). She also placed 17th in the discus (110-7) at the state meet.
Bristow, who will continue her athletic career at Akron, was one of the leading competitors at the WPIAL finals, finishing as a triple medalist. Along with winning the shot put, she placed second in the javelin and third in the discus.
Two other Baldwin seniors, Logan Richards and Alina Stahl, were near-miss medalists in the boys and girls competition, respectively.
Richards placed ninth in the javelin with a throw of 174-10. Stahl placed 10th in the long jump with a mark of 17-1.
“My last (high school) meet did not go as well as I was hoping. I missed making finals by two inches,” Stahl said. “However, I am happy my last meet was the state meet.”
Stahl, who earned nine WPIAL medals in her track career, will continue her athletic career in the West Virginia women’s soccer program.
She is taking college classes this summer and soon will begin training for the fall season.
Senior Nick Lachut tied for 12th place in the boys pole vault, clearing 13-6. Lachut was a WPIAL champion in the pole vault as a junior.
Macy Hale, a junior, also competed for Baldwin in the girls 1,600-meter run, posting a time of 5:39.33 in a preliminary race.
Ray Fisher is a freelance writer.