COLUMBUS - Alyssa Robinson's story has been well-documented.
After some coaxing and just for fun, the St. Clairsville junior decided to give track and field - and more specifically - the shot put a try last season.
She immediately exploded onto the scene and was the area's premier thrower all of last season and eventually finished third in the state.
St. Clairsville’s Alyssa Robinson is congratulated after receiving her gold medal for winning the Division II state shot put championship Saturday at Jesse Owens Stadium in Columbus on the campus of The Ohio State University.
"After last year, I wanted (the state championship) so bad," Robinson recalled.
Well, the personable Lady Red Devils hasn't lost since.
Robinson became the first St. Clairsville state champion since 2003 Saturday morning when she won the Division II shot put crown, at the throwing area outside of the Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on the campus of The Ohio State University.
"It feels so good knowing that all my hard work is paying off," Robinson said. "This is what I've been working for all season to get here and then do my best. Words can't explain how I feel."
Her best Saturday was also the best of her career. She marked the red clay 44-ft and 10 inches from the toe board.
After reaching the finals with a mark of 43-ft-5 1/4, Robinson found herself sitting in third place, trailing Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary's Megan Tomei by more than a foot and Sheridan's Sarah Clow, who she had beaten twice during the season, including last week's regional, by five inches.
"I was really nervous in the beginning and unsure of myelf," Robinson said. "After I saw those other two girls let one go, I knew that I had to my best now, focus and let one go."
Robinson obviously listened quite well to her own advice.
On her first throw of the finals, Robinson uncorked one. The official read the tape and yelled, "44-feet, 10 inches," to which Robinson and the St. C. faithful knew had bumped her to the lead.
"I'd been aiming at that kind of distance all season," Robinson said. "I heard that mark and I was ready to throw again immediately."
She then produced marks of 41-ft-5 1/4 and 39-ft-4 1/2 and proceeded to sit patiently - and somewhat nervously - as Tomei and Clow had their final tosses. Both threw better than 44-feet, but not quite as far, giving Robinson her first state title and her second all-Ohio finish.
"It was just a great feeling standing on the top of the podium," Robinson said. "I thought about how I was third last year, which was a great feeling, and then to win this year is just great."
Robinson, who was undefeated this season, knows she's put an even bigger bullseye on her back for next season, but she's planning on working even harder as she prepares for her final campaign.
"There are still things that I could change every day and in every meet," Robinson said. "I always perform well under pressure. I just have to focus, calm down and hopefully I can get here in discus ... if I don't foul all of my throws."
Ironically, the last Ohio Valley athlete to win a shot put title was River's D.J. Duke, who was coached by Tim Frye. Robinson becomes the latest and first state champion for Red Devils' head coach Ben Frye.
Staskey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org