Gateway’s Robinson caps high school career at PIAA track championships

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Sunday, June 5, 2022 | 11:01 AM


Amaya Robinson graduated from Gateway on Wednesday.

But before she took those all-important steps from one journey to begin another, she had some business to take care of on the biggest track and field stage in the state.

Robinson was one of 25 sprinters who challenged themselves in the Class 3A girls 100-meter dash on the first day of the PIAA championships at Shippensburg.

In a competitive field, Robinson, running at states for the first time, raced to a 14th-place finish in a time of 12.55 seconds, faster than the 12.78 she recorded at the WPIAL championships at Slippery Rock a week earlier.

“I think I did really well,” Robinson said. “I was proud of myself. I wasn’t sad at all coming out of states. I worked really hard all season for the opportunity to make it to states, even if it was just by myself. Not everyone can say they competed at states, so it’s something really cool for myself. It was an awesome experience.”

Robinson and the other challengers to the top eight for the finals were closely compacted after the prelims. She was 15 one-hundredths of a second away from 10th.

The eighth-place finisher in the prelims, Taylor Johnson from District 12’s Monsignor Bonner, ran a time of 12.35.

“The goal for me was to get a PR, which was 12.38,” Robinson said. “I also had a goal all season to try to beat the school record (12.01, Taunja Snyder, 1985). I just wanted to go there and push myself to my best race.”

Robinson placed fourth in the 100 at WPIALs May 18 as she navigated her way through cloudy, rainy and cool conditions at Slippery Rock. The top-four finish earned her an automatic trip to states.

Her time of 12.78 put her as the 20th seed.

The WPIAL finish was two spots better than last year when she placed sixth (12.74). She added an eighth-place medal in the 200, but her time of 27.30 fell short of the state-qualifying standard.

The top 17 seeds for the 100 at states had run times at their respective district meets which were faster than the state-qualifying standard of 12.50.

Robinson said she didn’t want to know what seed she was going into states.

“That can build nerves and anxiety during preparation,” she said.

“Obviously, I knew what my time from WPIALs was, and I knew when and where I needed to be for my race. I just wanted to go in and prove I could do even better than WPIALs and really test myself again.”

Robinson said she benefited greatly from work with coaches Tom LaBuff, Jackie Smith and Jose Rivera between WPIALs and states.

“I took a couple of days to recover because I had run a lot at WPIALs,” Robinson said.

“I was able to gather myself and fully realize I was going to states. Then we got on the track and got ready with work on the blocks. My start was a big thing for me coming out of WPIALs. I knew, with work, it could be better. I knew that I was already as fast as I was going to be, so it was more on the technique of getting out a little quicker.”

Nutrition, proper hydration and the ability to relax, Robinson said, were key elements in her final steps of preparation before her race at states.

Now, Robinson turns her focus to the summer months before she leaves for her freshman year at Slippery Rock.

She expects to run the various individual sprints for The Rock as well as get involved with a number of the relays.

“I am basically starting out this summer with work in the weight room and work on my stamina and endurance,” said Robinson, who also will work this summer as a day-camp counselor for the Municipality of Monroeville.

“I just want to do whatever I can to stay in shape and get a little stronger for college. The work to be ready begins now. I have a really strong support system behind me who will help me do my best.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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