Seneca Valley's Forrest Barnes, center, wins the boys 100-meter dash Friday at Mars High School.
By Ryan Riordan Tri-State Sports & News Service
Seneca Valley senior Forrest Barnes entered the Mars Invitational Friday in a bit of a slump.
But against a good field, he showed he is still one of the best sprinters in the area.
Barnes won gold medals in the 100-meter dash and 400-meter relay, and finished second in the 200-meter dash to help Seneca Valley tie Gateway for first place in the boys team competition.
"Earlier this season, I wasn't doing as well," said Barnes, who placed third in the WPIAL and eighth in the PIAA in the 100 meters last season. "My body wasn't where it was supposed to be, my mindset wasn't, either. Thankfully, I have coaches that are willing to help me in every way possible and working me to the best of my abilities every day.
"Today is just the start to returning back to what I used to be and hopefully it will lead to more stuff later on this season."
Barnes ran a blazing 10.87 in the semifinals of the 100 meters, and then followed it up with a 10.97 in the final to beat West Middlesex's Clay Allen and Raiders' teammate Jon Dorogy.
Barnes said Dorogy had been crushing him all season entering Friday's event.
Allen, meanwhile, beat Barnes in both the 100 and 200 meters at the 2012 Mars Invitational, and ran away from the Raiders' speedster in the 200 meters Friday.
Allen was the second place finisher in both events last season at the PIAA Class AA meet.
Gateway got victories from Jae'Len Means (400-meter dash), Montae Nicholson (110-meter hurdles) and Anthony Bauccio (shot put).
In the girls competition, sisters Shannon and Mary Malone ran away from the competition and helped North Hills finish third behind the team champion, Morgantown, and second-place Mars.
Shannon Malone, a senior, won the 1,600- and 3,200-meter races, with her younger sister, junior Mary Malone, taking second in both events.
"It definitely pushes me when she's in front of me because I think I can stay with her," Mary Malone said.
The younger Malone finished second in the WPIAL Class AAA cross-country meet in the fall, but Shannon Malone could only watch because of a fracture in her foot.
Now back healthy, Shannon Malone said the injury might have made her a better runner.
"I did a lot of cross-training and work in the pool," Malone said. "I feel great, though. I think the cross-training made me stronger so hopefully it helps."
While Malone is healthy, Mars junior Lydia Dennis, the defending WPIAL Class AAA triple jump champion, is still recovering from a prefracture injury. She estimated that she's at 85 percent right now, yet like Malone, she won both her events, the long jump and triple jump, Friday.
Woodland Hills' Desiree Garland (200- and 400-meter dashes) and Springdale's Emily Lelis (100- and 300-meter hurdles) joined Malone and Dennis as two-time winners.