Rittelmann, Bailey shine
Tornado duo dominant at Friday's
Butler Invitational


BUTLER TWP — When it comes to the high jump at the Butler Girls Track and Field Invitational, Paige Rittelmann has the event all sewn up. 

No others need apply. 
Rittelmann captured her sixth consecutive high jump crown — she won the first two at the invite's junior high meet — on Friday by clearing 5-foot-6, earning the win on her last attempt to edge out Hickory's Lauren Lubarski. 

“The more pressure, the better I do,” said Rittelmann, who won the WPIAL Class AAA crown as a freshman. “If the competition is better, I'm used to the adversity.” 
Still, Rittelmann felt some uneasiness before the meet. 
“I was pretty confident today — until I got here,” Rittelmann said. “I was a little worried. But, it came down to one jump, win or lose. 
“Usually, I clear heights the first time, but I missed three times at different heights. It was a little nerve-racking,” Rittelmann added. 
“I'm so proud for her to finish up her senior year and win the invite,” Butler girls coach Annessa Steele said. “I'm sure she can look back on this.” 

Now, Rittelmann will look to continue bumping up her height, especially with a school record at hand. 
“Hopefully, buy the end of the year, I'll be at 5-8,” Rittelmann noted. “I want to try and tie the school record (Kendall Butch in 2005). It'll take a lot of hard work.” 
Rittelmann praises the work of jumping coach Rich Zitalone as well as her teammates, who push one another each day. 
Another of her teammates, Jasmine Bailey, came away with not just four medals, but all in the top four. 
Bailey, a senior, was a member of the winning 400 relay team along with Paige Allen, Kennedy Evans and first-time fill-in Kristen Knass, who was subbing for a banged-up Lexis Frost. 
The foursome finished with a time of 50.79.


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Butler’s Paige Allen makes the first hand off of the winning 4x100 meter relay to Kristen Knass during the Butler Invitational Friday night. 

Bailey also finished second in the 100 (12.81, just .02 seconds behind winner Kami Kaczanowicz of Burrell) and 200 (26.37) and was fourth in the 400 (1:00.03). 
“I think with Jasmine is you can put her in so many events, the 100, the 300 hurdles, the relays,” Steele said. “She's such a talented athlete. She had a great meet today.” 
Things did not get off to a great start — literally — as Bailey was slow to come out of the blocks of her first race, the 100. 
“When I get out slow, I know I can still finish strong,” Bailey said. “If I get a quick start, with the way I close, I can make it easier on myself.” 
Bailey also was not pleased with her 400, which she finished behind winner Kim Watterson (58.14), North Hills' Abby O'Connell and Trinity Christian's Samantha Gibson. 
“I knew the race pace in my head,” Bailey said. “I knew in the first turn I was too slow.” 
But in the relay, the team responded with the win, although it had to do some with Knass in the mix, having only practicing exchanges before the event. 
Other first-place performances in the girls meet include Knoch's Samantha Logan in the 800 (2:22.68), as well as Freeport's Bronte Soul setting a personal-best 37-7 and the Grove City 1,600 relay team (4:09.52) of Eliza Lowe, Abby Casalnova, Lauren Decker and Cara Buccini. 
“I really wanted to break my school record, which was
2:24, which I did,” Logan said. “I was looking for a 2:20, but I was happy to break it.” 
Lowe also came away with a pair of second-place finishes — in the 100 hurdles (15.15) and 300 hurdles (46.46) as did Mars' Lydia Dennis in the long jump (17-2) and triple jump (36-11.75).