REGARDLESS OF the sport, Ohio is home to competitive prep athletics.
Winning a state championship, either individually or as a team, is a monumental achievement in the Buckeye State.
This past Saturday, Eastern Ohio saw a pair of its local ladies capture gold medals at the OHSAA track & field championships.
Alyssa Robinson of St. Clairsville and Cassidy McCullough of River reached the ultimate goal in Columbus. Robinson prevailed in the shot put while McCullough bested the field in the 300-meter hurdles.
Their achievements were nothing short of remarkable, as both faced formidable opposition in their quest to stand on the top step of the medals podium. Robinson and McCullough each responded in championship fashion to turn back talented foes.
That is only half of the story, however.
Robinson and McCullough both carried the weight of being cast in the role of defending state champion. They were the hunted, taking everyone's best shot.
The Lady Red Devil and Lady Pilot were more than equal to the task.
They each went unbeaten in their specialties in their final seasons en route to earning college track scholarships.
McCullough and Robinson both possess tremendous athletic talent. That is obvious. But it takes more to repeat as a state champion.
McCullough and Robinson both had the mental toughness to stay focused on their lofty goals, while having the work ethic and character to put in the needed effort to remain the state's finest.
The double-gold medalists also had a support system of coaches, family and teammates to assist in any way necessary.
We commend both McCullough and Robinson for etching their names into the OVAC annals as two of the finest track athletes in the conference's 70-year history.
We also believe they will serve as role models for future prep student-athletes in the Ohio Valley.