Alyssa Robinson had never picked up a shot put prior to her sophomore year of high school.
That's tough to believe when you take a look at Robinson's laundry list of accomplishments and records.
However, it's the truth. After being introduced to the iron-ball event in the spring of 2011, Robinson has turned the circle into her home away from home, dominating area competition and last spring, she laid claim to the Division II state title.
"The whole experience has been amazing," Robinson said. "When I think back to my sophomore year, I never would've thought I would be where I am now with the sport."
Robinson's journey in shot put is just beginning. With major colleges beating down her door, Robinson declared this past week to take part in the New Balance Indoor Nationals at the famed Armory in New York City.
"I am extremely excited to be able to participate in the meet," Robinson said. "It is a great honor just to have qualified for such a huge meet, with people from all across the country."
Robinson, who was highly successful on the indoor scene last winter, heard fellow competitors in last June's state meet talking about the indoor competition.
However, she really didn't think too much about it especially when she was considering playing basketball this winter.
The meet resonated in her mind once again last month when it became public that Martins Ferry senior shot putter Sean McGee was going to make the trip to the 'Big Apple' to take part in the same event.
"After I read about Sean and some others from Martins Ferry possibly going, I starting doing some research on the meet and I realized that this is something that I really wanted to participate in," Robinson said. "The competition at the meet will excellent, and I really think it'll help me for the upcoming (outdoor) season as well as college competitions."
Robinson was undefeated last season in the shot put. She won the state title, marking at 44-ft-10. She was the run-away winner in most meets throughout the season and is starting to etch her name into record books all across the Ohio Valley.
Don't think for a second that Robinson's goals have changed one bit either as the season progresses. And it all starts with the indoor season, and more specifically, the upcoming national meet.
"The two main goals that I have set for myself at this meet is to make the top 8 and become All American, and set a new personal record," Robinson said.
On top of the competition and chance to become an all-American, Robinson is also looking forward to going to New York City, a place she's never been.
"Having never been to New York is definitely one of the factors that makes me so much more excited to go," Robinson said. "Hopefully I will be able to do some shopping and go out and see the Statue of Liberty while I'm there."
Robinson expects to have her college decision made in the not-so-distant future. National Letter of Intent day for track and field is Feb. 6.
"I've talked to several different colleges and coaches, but I've narrowed my decision down to Ohio State and Penn State. It'll be a very tough decision."
Staskey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org