Meet Feature by Phil Grove
If it took until all hours of the night (and it almost did), Shatori Walker-Kimbrough was determined to leave the 40th Baldwin Invitational as a winner.
Photo by Bill McBride
Down to her last jump, the senior multisport standout flashed down the runway and into the darkness, striking the sand as a gold medalist and PA’s new No. 1 long jumper.
“I really, really, really wanted to win,” Walker-Kimbrough said. “I wanted it really bad. I hate losing.
“Second place is last place to me. I got second place in the triple jump, and I wasn’t satisfied. I knew I had to get (first) in long, I had to.”
Walker-Kimbrough needed almost every bit of her new PA#1 mark of 19 feet, 3.5 inches to snatch victory from Hempfield Area’s Maddie Holmberg in a deep competition. Holmberg’s PA#3 18-11.75 led until the next-to-last jump of the night as Walker-Kimbrough broke into the 19s, leading a total of six athletes past 17 feet.
The battle for the gold medal started long before the sun set as the Hempfield Area and Hopewell jumpers were back to back in the first of three flights. Walker-Kimbrough opened at 18-1.5 and stretched her lead to 18-10 in round two before Holmberg grabbed the top spot with the 18-11.75 bound as the top two jumpers combined for six marks of at least 17-8 in the prelims.
A basketball recruit to Maryland, Walker-Kimbrough started her 2013 season off right with an 18-8.5 leap but had not improved on that mark until reaching the site of the upcoming WPIAL (District 7) championships. Although the long jump flights were delayed so some competitors could compete in the 400-meter relay, the winner did not waste any time in the finals, cutting Holmberg’s lead to a quarter inch with an 18-11.5 leap after a long foul told her good things were about to happen.
“Little nervous, little nerve wracking,” the winner said of trying to improve on her season-opening mark. “I’ve been working at it, why aren’t the results there? Now that I got it, my hard work is paying off.”
Schwartz Gets Distance Double, US Top 10
Photo by Phil Grove
Unlike Walker-Kimbrough, Shaler Area’s Brianna Schwartz did not have to sit idly before realizing the fruits of her labor. Assuming her customary spot as race leader, the sophomore was in complete control of the featured mile, lowering her PR with a new state leader and US#7 4:50.83.
“I was really surprised, I was really excited, too,” the Shaler Area standout said of her wire-to-wire victory. “It was really fast, the first two laps felt pretty comfortable so the last two I just pushed it. I was really happy.”
As expected, Shannon Malone of North Hills placed herself off Schwartz’s right shoulder as the tandem led the 11-runner field. Heading into the final lap, Schwartz was alone to make a run at the national top 10.
“Going into the last lap, I felt Shannon drop off a little bit and then so I went my fastest,” said Schwartz, who pulled Malone to a PA#4 4:54.48 and Upper St. Clair’s Betsy Erlanger to a PA#8 5:00.26.
Pennsylvania’s fastest mile thus far in 2013 wasn’t the end of Schwartz’s day as she dropped down in distance for a rare try at the 800 meters. Despite having to work her way into the lead, the end result was a PA#3 2:13.67.
"It’s fun, I like it,” Schwartz said of the two-lapper. “I wasn’t really expecting much. I just wanted to get a fast time, I guess.
“The first lap was pretty hard because I had to start on the outside and I was a little behind. The last lap I just took the lead and wanted to push the time.”
Yohman, Jones Rolled to Victories
Photo by Phil Grove
State leader Jon Yohman of Wilmington made like a rolling stone in the shot put competition, continuing to gather momentum and adding feet to each throw. The end result was another victory for 2013’s lone 60-foot-plus thrower.
“With the atmosphere we have here, you always hope to have a great throw because of all the adrenaline you get,” said Yohman, whose final throw of 61-5 won by almost four feet. “I had a very rough start obviously, but I talked to my coach, and being mentally tough was a big part of it. Eventually I popped one, I popped another and I kept improving.”
Opening with a foul and a 52-2 effort, the senior effectively ended the competition with his 58-9 throw to close out the prelims. In the finals, Yohman registered throws of 59-2 and 60-2 before sending the 12-pound ball out farther once again.
“Usually I have my better throws toward the end,” he said. “You’re still going, you get more adrenaline as the meet goes on.
“I’m still climbing, which is great. Hopefully I keep climbing, I don’t peak out so we’ll see what happens.”
Abby Jones of Franklin Area was another winner who got better as the competition progressed. Entering the high jump at 5 feet, the sophomore needed just one attempt at each height through a new PR and PA#2 5-8 that turned back the PA#5 5-6 from Ambridge’s India McCoy.
“We jumped in rain and snow a few times, but it’s really nice today,” said Jones, who also has a pair of 5-7 clearances to her credit this season. “I didn’t mind (the wind) much. At least the wind wasn’t at my back. I feel like when it’s at my back, it blows me into the bar. It wasn’t too bad today.”
State-Ranking Marks Dominate Meet
Shannon Malone came back in the 3,200 and won in a PA#3 10:45.91, while sister Mary was the runner-up in 10:57.75. Hempfield Area’s Holmberg also was victorious earlier in the day in the 100 hurdles as her T-PA#8 14.87 in the semifinals was the fastest.
Also on the girls side, Ally Baroszewicz of Vincentian Academy won the 100 in a T-PA#5 12.22, while Jasmine Jones of Hempfield Area is now PA#2 in the 200 at 24.74 as both dashes featured additional PA top 10 times. Jones and Holmberg also joined forces as Hempfield sliced its PA#4 time to 48.12 in winning the 400 relay by almost 2 seconds.
Brooke Mancuso of North Allegheny joined the crowd at PA#3 in the pole vault with an 11-6 over, and April Krivoniak of Greater Latrobe climbed to fifth in PA with a 42-7 win in the shot put as three topped 42 feet, and Sarah Stanley of South Park is PA#6 in the javelin after a 136-9 throw.
For the boys, Central Catholic’s Torey Doaty won a tight 400, with his PA#3 48.72 nipping Hempfield’s Chandler Crusan and his PA#4 48.81. Ethan Martin of Fox Chapel Area was involved in a pair of close finishes, with his PA#6 4:17.36 running down the #7 4:17.92 from North East’s Ryan Smathers in the mile and his 9:14.29 3,200 landing him between twin brother Colin’s 9:14.73 and the winning 9:13.35 (PA#9) by Brent Kennedy of Kiski Area.
Gateway’s Montae Nicholson moved up to eighth in the state rankings with a 14.55 winner in the 110 hurdles, while Seneca Valley routed the 400 relay field with a PA#6 42.68. Malik Moffett of Cathedral is now PA#2 with a 6-9 winner in the high jump, and Northwestern’s Kyle McKeen won easily in the triple jump with a PA#3 47-2.5, Seneca Valley’s Dan Cashdollar moved to T-#5 in the pole vault after clearing 14-6 and Shafer Swann of Central Catholic won the long jump with a T-PA#4 22-7.25.
Max Adams of Hempfield threw 187-2 for the discus winner, and Luke Smorey of host Baldwin claimed the javelin at 196-4.