5 storylines for Friday’s Baldwin Invitational
Standing room around the shot put area won’t be quite as crowded Friday for the Baldwin Invitational, now that record-setting thrower Jordan Geist of Knoch is a freshman at Arizona.
But this year’s event won’t lack star power with North Allegheny hurdler Ayden Owens likely leading the pack. The Baldwin Invitational traditionally has one of the best fields, although prom has at times led some athletes to skip. The meet serves as a warm-up for the WPIAL individual championships which are held at the same stadium.
Eighty-four schools are registered to attend Friday. The meet starts at 12:30 p.m. with preliminary races and field events.
Here are five potential storylines to follow Friday:
All eyes on Owens
Owens takes Geist’s spot as the must-see athlete in this year’s field. A year ago at the Baldwin Invitational, the senior competed in the 200 meters, the 110 and 300 hurdles and the long jump.
Owens went on to sweep the hurdle events at both the WPIAL and PIAA Class AAA championships last spring.
The Southern Cal recruit holds this season’s top 300 hurdles time in the state at 37.44 seconds, a mark that ranks 13th in the nation according to Milesplit.com. He ranks second in Pennsylvania in the 110 hurdles (14.02).
Don’t be surprised if it rains
If you’re going, take an umbrella. The weather forecast puts temperatures in the upper-70s, but there’s a 50 percent chance of rain. The forecast also calls for winds around 20 mph, which will test the strongest of team tents.
If it does rain during the meet, it won’t be the first time.
Athletic director Vince Sortino, track coach Ed Helbig and the Baldwin staff have pulled off the event in less-than-ideal conditions before.
Split-second rematch in the 100
One-hundredth of a second separated Penn Hills’ Alex Trower and Bethel Park’s James Krandel when the sprinters finished first and second in the boys 100 meters at the South Fayette Invitational on April 28.
Trower won in 10.77, just ahead of Krandal’s 10.78.
Both schools are registered to attend Friday’s meet, so there could be a rematch in Baldwin.
Going the extra mile
A week after finishing third at the Penn Relays, Upper St. Clair senior Savannah Shaw could defend her McKinney Mile title at the Baldwin Invitational.
High school athletes typically run the 1,600 meters, but the mile is a marquee event at the invite.
Shaw placed third in Philadelphia in 4:55.74, almost two seconds faster than the 4:57.70 she ran last spring at the Baldwin Invite.
Owens isn’t the WPIAL’s only star hurdler.
Oakland Catholic junior Jayla Ellis and Bentworth senior Brenna Cavanaugh could duel Friday in the girls 100 hurdles. They compete for WPIAL titles in different classifications, but finished first and second at the South Fayette Invitational this spring and took the top two spots at the Baldwin Invitational last spring.
Ellis won both of those races.
Cavanaugh, an Eastern Michigan recruit, had a busy day at the Baldwin Invitational last year. Along with taking second in the 100 hurdles, Cavanaugh won the long jump, placed fourth in the triple jump and sixth in the 100 meters.