Sometimes it can be difficult to go from being the hunted to the hunter.
Just ask St. Clairsville graduate Alyssa Robinson, who has done just that in terms of her track and field career.
After finishing her last two outdoor seasons undefeated, including with a pair of OHSAA Division II state championships, Robinson signed with Penn State University to continue her career.
ALYSSA ROBINSON, a St. Clairsville graduate, and current Penn State thrower finished eighth in the shot put at the Big Ten Indoor Track Championship held last weekend in Geneva, Oh. She and her Nittany Lion teammates won the B1G Championship. She’s posing with the team trophy.
During her prep career, Robinson arrived at the throwing circle basically not wondering whether she'd win, but by how much? That's certainly no longer the case, but the adjustment process is well under way.
"It was difficult," Robinson said. "It's definitely a culture shock because everything is so much different than high school."
Regardless if it's the demanding schedule, the training changes and the obvious step up in competition, it was all new for Robinson.
"Things were difficult in the fall, getting used to balancing being away from home, fending for myself, classes and then practicing sometimes four hours a day," Robinson said.
It's certainly calming down now.
Robinson wrapped up her first indoor track campaign with the Nittany Lions by earning all-Big Ten accolades in the shot put thanks to an eighth-place finish and that one point proved huge as the Lady Lions claimed the B1G Championship. Along with her place, Robinson posted a career-best mark of 48-ft-3.
"During the week of practice leading up to Big Tens, everything just seemed to click for me," Robinson said. "I had good practices in both the shot put and weight throw. It was just like everything I had been doing was starting to serve its purpose and pay off."
At the conference meet, which was held at SPIRE Institute in Geneva, OH, Robinson entered as the 14th seed.
"I thought going in that I would need 48-plus to make the final from where I was seeded," Robinson noted. "It just kind of worked in my favor that one of the girls, who was seeded above me, didn't have her best day."
Robinson, who was the only freshman to score in the shot put, capitalized on that. She snuck into the finals as the ninth qualifier and then hit her personal record.
"My coach and I talked before the finals, and I knew that scoring a point could make a huge difference (in the team standings)," Robinson said. "I was the first thrower in the finals, and I was in the zone. I knew what I needed to do and didn't think about anything other than throwing far."
Like many freshmen adjusting to life in college, Robinson admits that she had some doubts that she even belonged in Division I athletics early in the season.
"I really didn't know if I was cut out to be at Penn State or in the Big Ten," Robinson admitted. "It's no joke. I was excited about a PR at 48-feet, but other girls were throwing 54 for their personal records."
There was a thought that Robinson may have redshirted, but after not throwing well in the intersquad meet and her first official meet, it started to come together for her and the Nittany Lions' coaches opted to let her compete with the varsity, rather than unattached.
"(Not being redshirted) really eased the pressure," Robinson confessed. "I felt more comfortable and realized I didn't need to impress anyone. I could just focus on contributing to the team."
Robinson hopes to use her indoor success as a stepping stone into outdoor season, which begins later this month.
"I know more what to expect going into the outdoor season," Robinson said. "All of the college meets are like a state meet on steroids because the talent and athleticism is on such a completely different scale."
With goals of reaching the NCAA championships and beyond set, Robinson knows one of the biggest improvements she'll need to continue toward is her core strength.
"I have a lot to improve on, but my strength is a big part of it," Robinson said. "As my weight numbers go up, my distances will get longer. I have to continue to get better technically in the circle, too."
During the indoor season, Robinson also made huge strides in the weight throw and she'll begin throwing the hammer outdoor.
"Everything is falling into place for me, so I just want to keep building," Robinson said. "I feel like I am in a really good position heading into outdoor."