WPIAL sprint champion Hayden Robinson among favorites for PIAA gold

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Thursday, May 23, 2019 | 3:37 PM


Hayden Robinson has one goal for her final trip to Shippensburg.

“To win,” she said. “I haven’t won a state championship yet. That’s my ultimate goal.”

The Avonworth/Northgate sprinter is a three-time 100-meter champion in the WPIAL, but hasn’t won state gold despite coming close twice.

The senior can change that this weekend when she competes in the PIAA track and field championships. The two-day event is Friday and Saturday at Shippensburg University.

The Quinnipiac recruit enters at the top seed in the girls 100 meters for Class AAA. Her 11.85-second qualifying mark is the only sub-12 time in the 31-person field, making her the favorite.

Statistically, her top 100-meter rivals are three teammates from Warwick, a school district near Lancaster. Lily Palacio-Lewis is seeded second at 12:02, Leah Graybill is third (12.03) and Meghan Quinn is fourth (12.14).

Robinson was the state’s 100-meter runner-up both her junior and freshman seasons. A hamstring injury kept her from reaching Shippensburg as a sophomore.

As a freshman, Robinson posted a 12.09 at Shippensburg, earning her a state silver medal behind Girard College’s Thelma Davies (11.58). Last spring, Robinson’s 12.06-second time in the finals placed her behind only Norristown’s Jonae Cook (12.00), who was a senior.

She’s also seeded seventh in the 200 meters this weekend, a state title that older sister Hunter won last year. Hunter Robinson is now a freshman at Tulane but was in the Slippery Rock University crowd last week to root on Hayden.

“She’s been back for everything, so it’s like having her (around) but better,” Hayden Robinson said with a laugh, “because she’s not going to beat me.”

Along with Robinson, 13 other WPIAL athletes also enter the state meet as top seeds. Shady Side Academy’s Melissa Riggins is first in both the girls Class AA 800 and 1,600 meters.

In Class AAA boys, Hempfield’s Jared Bannon (110 hurdles), Indiana’s Kendall Branan (800), Mt. Lebanon’s Patrick Anderson (1,600) and North Allegheny’s Zach Kinne (3,200) are seeded first in their events.

Aliquippa’s M.J. Devonshire (100), Waynesburg’s Daniel Layton (110 hurdles), Riverside’s Calvin Wetzel (300 hurdles) and North Catholic’s Joseph Kearney (long jump) are seeded first in Class AA boys.

In Class AA girls, joining Riggins are Brownville’s Gionna Quarzo (3,200), Beaver’s Emma Pavalek (high jump), Waynesburg’s Taylor Shriver (pole vault) and South Park’s Maura Huwalt (javelin).

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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