The face of Baldwin High School track & field will soon be where it belongs, as a selection committee of the Pennsylvania Track & Field Coaches Association (PTFCA) has chosen Ed Helbig to be a member of PTFCA Hall of Fame's Class of 2013.
The organization's hall of fame was established in 1995 to honor the elite individuals in Pennsylvania track & field history. A selection committee consisting of more than two-dozen coaches, officials and journalists collects and reviews information about individuals who have been nominated. Further research is conducted, and a new ballot is formed every summer, followed by voting in the fall and induction at the coming year's indoor state championship meet—Feb. 23 this year at Penn State University.
Helbig was a WPIAL and PIAA (state) medalist as a student at Baldwin High but has made his lasting mark on Baldwin—and on Pennsylvania track & field as a whole—during his tenure as a coach of Baldwin track.
Helbig, 62, was an assistant coach for Baldwin's outdoor track & field program from 1976 to 1993 before coming its head coach in 1994. He's also been the school's head indoor track & field coach since 1991.
Additionally, he has been a PIAA official since 1990, the director of the Tri-State Track & Field Coaches Association since 1992, a member of both the PTFCA all-state selection committee and jury of appeals since 1992, and a member of the WPIAL track & field steering committee since 2004.
He has also coached multiple team and individual WPIAL and/or PIAA champions and has even been a WPIAL cross country championships official.
But perhaps Helbig's biggest contributions to sports in Pennsylvania have come as the tireless director of several area track meets, including the renowned and highly attended Baldwin Invitational, which he has ran since 1993.
He has also ran the South Hills Classic since 2004 and been the meet director for the WPIAL's AAA team championships and AAA Southern Qualifier individual meet for some time.
Moreover, he has organized a track & field coaches clinic at Baldwin since 1993 and helps to run the annual Baldwin Mile.
Every year, 6-12 athletes, one coach and one other contributor are inducted into the PTFCA Hall of Fame. Once nominated, a candidate remains under consideration in perpetuity.
Helbig, a Baldwin Borough resident and Baldwin High social studies teacher, is that one coach to be enshrined this year.
The selection committee has information on over 400 athletes, 100 coaches and 50 other contributors—more than a century's worth of notable individuals—who have been nominated but not yet inducted.
Those wishing to share details about deserving candidates are encouraged to submit a nomination through the PTFCA website.
"It is special to be nominated," Helbig said, "but to be voted in and recognized by your peers is an honor."
Helbig joins two Baldwin athletes in the hall of fame—Ron Semkiw (Class of 1996) and Carole Zajac (Class of 1997).
Semkiw, a 1972 Baldwin graduate, was the United States' first-ever 70-foot high school shot putter, and his outdoor throw of 70 feet, 1 3/4 inches is still ranked third all-time in the country, according to the PTFCA. He also threw the discus over 191 feet and was a multiple PIAA champion. His 64-feet, 1-inch indoor shot put is also still third all-time in the country.
Zajac, a 1990 Baldwin grad, was a two-time PIAA cross country champion and was an indoor national champion in the 3,200-meter run. Outdoors, she was a PIAA champion in both the 1,600 and 3,200 runs.
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