Monroeville’s Jayla Robinson takes 4th at national championship meet
When Jayla Robinson begins her fourth-grade school year at Ramsey Elementary School later this month, the 9-year-old Monroeville resident will have good news to share with her classmates.
For the second year in a row, Robinson is a youth track and field All-American with a pair of medal-winning performances at the Amateur Athletic Union’s Junior Olympic National Championships from July 29 to Aug. 1 at North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro, N.C.
Competing in the 9-year-old girls division, she finished fourth out of 70 competitors in the turbo javelin with a distance of 66 feet, 6 inches and tied for eighth out of 72 throwers in the shot put at 19-11.5.
“I was really happy with how I did,” said Robinson, who qualified for nationals with first-place finishes both in the turbo javelin (49-6) and shot put (17-5.6) at the Region 4 national qualifier in Columbus, Ohio, in late June.
“It was an amazing feeling to know I got All-American medals,” she said.
The marks at the Region 4 meet, which took in athletes from associations in Ohio, West Virginia, Western Pennsylvania and Western New York, gave her national seeds of 14th in the turbo javelin and 23rd in the shot put.
When she got to Greensboro, Robinson blew past those seeds and returned to a podium position.
“Jayla did really well, and I’m proud of her,” said Jared Robinson, Jayla’s father.
“I felt she had a little more in the tank coming off of regionals. I knew she had it in her to get that All-American status.”
The top eight finishers in each event at nationals earned All-American recognition.
“Jayla put a little bit of pressure on herself during the regular season, but at nationals, she seemed to be real relaxed,” Jared Robinson said. “She was always dancing, and she made friends with other girls while she waited her turn to throw.
“When she was done, I don’t know if she truly grasped how good of an accomplishment it was. She really wanted to get her fried Oreos.”
Jayla, who represented the Future Stars Athletics track and field club, picked up a bronze medal in the 8-and-under girls turbo javelin (56-9) at last year’s USA Track and Field National Junior Olympic Championships.
She pulled double duty this summer as she also returned to USATF district and regional competitions.
Jayla placed third in both the shot put (21-6) and turbo javelin (70-3) for the 9-10 age division at the Region 2 championships at Slippery Rock University. Both place finishes qualified her for nationals as the top five in each event advance.
Her Region 2 shot put distance was a personal best.
There is a weight difference for the turbo javelin between USATF (300 grams) and AAU (400 grams). The weight for the shot – 6 pounds – is the same for both organizations.
While Jayla competed with only 9 year olds in the AAU competitions, she also threw against 10 year olds at the USATF meets. The first- and second-place finishers in both of her events at Slippery Rock were 10 years old.
When it came time for nationals, Jayla and her father had to decide which meet to attend. Travel distance was a deciding factor, and AAU won out, as the USATF meet was across the country in Sacramento, Calif.
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-856-7400 x8632, [email protected] or via Twitter .