COLUMBUS - Throughout the season, St. Clairsville's Alyssa Robinson faced very few challenges.
Continually winning meets by sometimes as much as 10-feet, Robinson just went about her business in a calm, cool and collected way.
Once the Division II postseason began some three weeks ago, however, it really dawned on the Penn State recruit that she was the defending champion and the pressure was there to prevail.
Alyssa Robinson stands on top of the podium after winning the Division II shot put in Columbus Saturday morning.
ST. CLAIRSVILLE’S Alyssa Robinson launches the shot put during Saturday morning’s Division II?state competition. Robinson repeated with a mark of 46-ft-1 1/2.
Robinson faced real pressure here Saturday morning during the Division II state track and field championship. She came into her specialty seeded second and then stood and watched as Garretsville Garfield sophomore Edie Svonavec posted a mark of 45-ft-9 during her first throw of the competition.
"I was kind of nervous about the girl who had a better mark than me coming into the meet because I expected her to make an even bigger throw today," Robinson said of Liberty-Benton's Alex DeVincentis, who struggled mightily and didn't even reach the final. "When that girl (from Garfield) came out with a big throw, I knew I had to come out with a big throw of my own."
Robinson responded the way you'd expect a defending state champion to respond.
Robinson's name was called for her first throw and she launched the iron ball to a mark of 46-ft-1 1/2, which was her best mark since the OVAC Championship last month.
From there, everything else was a bonus. Robinson had the mark that proved to be the winner and etched her name into Ohio Valley track history as a back-to-back state champion.
"At the regional, it sunk in that I was the girl that everyone was coming after," Robinson said. "Coming into this week, I had a lot of pressure as the defending champion. It's feels great to win again. It's still an incredible feeling."
Robinson, who competed in numerous indoor meets and earned all-American status at the New Balance Indoor Nationals this past March, thrives on competition and actually was hoping for what she received on Saturday in terms of a push.
"I've been waiting for this all season because these girls (in the state meet) are all really good throwers and they pushed me to what I was able to do today."
The now three-time all-Ohioan didn't let up with her mark in the first round. Her final throw of the preliminary round landed right near the line signifying 50-feet, which had been her goal, but Robinson was unable to maintain her balance in the circle and fouled.
"My goal all season was to get to the state meet, make a big throw and hopefully get the state record," Robinson confessed. "I watched it land and I think if I hadn't watched it, I could have saved the throw."
While her prep career is over, she's possibly got one more opportunity to throw under the high school umbrella. Robinson was approached by Team Ohio coaches for the Midwest Meet of Champions, which will be held next Saturday in Fort Wayne, In.
Robinson took part in the discus during Friday's action for the first time in her career. She didn't reach the final.
"I was excited about the discus," Robinson said. "I had a good throw, but I fouled. I was just happy to be here in discus because I'd been struggling in it all year."
After receiving her gold medal from OHSAA Comissioner Dr. Daniel Ross and talking to the media, Robinson immediately headed to see her head coach Ben Frye, whom she credits all of the time for his time, and shared an emotional moment as she realized that she'd worn her Red Devils' uniform for the final time.
"It's a struggle and I shed some tears," Robinson said. "But, it's bittersweet, too, because I am definitely ready to see what my future has in store for me."
Staskey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org