Hayzes Robinson received some words of advice from sisters Hunter and Hayden prior to running in Saturday’s PIAA track and field championships.

“They just said run it like a normal race and everything will be fine,” Hayzes recalled, “which they’re right because if you get more nervous and you make it a bigger deal, you’re going to change something up and it’s not going to be the way you ran all season.”

Hayzes did run the way she ran all season.

Even better, she ran like a Robinson sister.

And in the 100-meter dash at the PIAA championships, that was once again a golden combination.

Robinson, a senior at Avonworth, won the Class 2A 100 at Shippensburg’s Seth Grove Stadium, and in doing so joined sisters Hunter and Hayden as PIAA 100-meter champions. Hunter won in 2017 and Hayden in 2019. There had never been a trio of sisters to win gold in the 100 at the PIAA championships, meaning this sister act made history.

“It means a lot,” said Hayzes, a Pitt recruit. “It’s really cool, and I’m really glad that I got to be a part of that and us having history.”

Hunter and Hayden were both in attendance to watch Hayzes on Saturday, just as Hayzes was to watch them win PIAA titles. The gold medal was the sixth for a Robinson sister at the PIAA championships. Hunter accounted for four of them.

Hayzes, a two-time WPIAL champion in the 100, had come close to winning PIAA gold in the past, but had to settle for a third-place finish in 2021 and a fourth-place finish last season. But the third time was a charm, as Robinson won after running a time of 12.11 to top a field that included four other WPIAL sprinters. Winchester Thurston’s Monroe Law (12.18) was second and Greensburg Central Catholic’s Eva Denis third (12.20).

“I was like, ‘I’ve raced against these girls. I know what they can do, so I just need to race to my best ability,’” said Robinson, whose winning time at WPIAL’s was 12.05.

The best part of Hayzes’ win? Now that she is part of her family’s golden PIAA sister act, she will no longer be subject to any teasing about never winning a state title.

“It was a really big motivation so they couldn’t be like, ‘Wow, you never got a gold state medal,’” Hayzes said, laughing. “Obviously they were joking, but still, I really wanted to be a part of that.”

Robinson also helped Avonworth/Northgate’s 1,600 relay team to a third-place finish Saturday. The team of Robinson, senior Gianna Babusci and sophomores Grace Ermlich and Julia Doherty ran a time of 3:57.99.

Logan SJK with a distance double

Mt. Lebanon senior Logan St. John Kletter closed her high school track and field career with only one WPIAL all-time No. 1, but the North Carolina recruit was all smiles after completing her PIAA distance double by winning the Class 3A 3,200 for the second year in a row.

“You can never be disappointed to win a state championship,” she said. “I’m really happy.”

For good reason, too. St. John Kletter’s gold medal was her second of the weekend and was the third PIAA track gold medal of her career. She won the 1,600 a day earlier when she broke the PIAA record and moved up to No. 1 on the WPIAL’s all-time list in the event, per track historian Jim Faiella. St. John Kletter’s winning time in Saturday’s 3,200 was 10 minutes, 21.46 seconds, which was short of the PIAA record she set last season. The 10:12.86 she ran last year ranks No. 2 in WPIAL history behind Shaler great Brianna Schwartz (10:10.03).

“Obviously it’s hard to go and double,” she said, “so I just gave it everything I had today.”

SSA’s Hartman a champ

Chelsea Hartman saw her lead evaporate over the final 400 meters of the Class 2A 1,600 on Friday, and she ultimately had to settle for third place.

With a chance to redeem herself in the 3,200 a day later, the Shady Side Academy senior earned her first title after claiming a wire-to-wire win. Hartman’s winning time of 10:37.32 was 20 seconds faster than runner-up Addie Cohen of Wyomissing (10:57.70).

“I think over the season I kind of built up my belief in myself and my ability to push the pace when somebody wasn’t willing to take it out from the gun and take it out in front of me,” said Hartman, the WPIAL champion in the 1,600 and 3,200.

Hartman, a Brown recruit, is the first Shady Side Academy athlete to win a PIAA title since Melissa Riggins captured titles in the 800 and 1,600 in 2021. Riggins now runs at Georgetown.

“We overlapped just a year and I think I really learned a lot from her,” Hartman said. “A lot of her mentality, I think, carried over. I think we’re very similar in that regard. We always want to push ourselves and always do our best.”

Atkins finally No. 1

It was only fitting that Laurel junior Tori Atkins won a PIAA Class 2A title in the 400 this season. After all, she had placed third in the event as a freshman and second as a sophomore, meaning there was only one spot higher on the medal podium left for her to go.

The third time was indeed a charm for Atkins, who coasted to the title after running a time of 55.49, which bettered her previous PR of 55.54 she ran to three-peat at the WPIAL championships. Atkins’ closest competition Saturday came from Savina Steele of Notre Dame-Green Pond, who finished in 57.15.

“I keep getting better each year, so I was hoping to come in first this year,” Atkins said.

It was the first PIAA gold medal for Atkins, but her seventh top-eight finish at the PIAA championships overall. She also ran in the 100 and 200 on Saturday, finishing eighth and sixth in those races, respectively.

“It feels really good,” Atkins said of winning her first gold. “You work hard all year and it’s nice when it pays off in the end.”

Freshmen stick out

A pair of WPIAL freshmen set the stage for even more success in the future by producing outstanding finishes in field events Saturday.

Trinity’s Ella Sammel was the runner-up in the Class 3A high jump following a PR of 5-6. Sammel, also the runner-up at the WPIAL championships, was one of three jumpers to go 5-6, but only one, winner Ella Bahn of Spring Grove, soared 5-7.

Anna McKinley of Shenango placed fourth in the Class 2A shot put following a top mark of 39-10¼. Sasha Garnett of Richland (43-7½) won the title and Beaver Falls’ Mikayla Anderson was second (40-11¾). McKinley’s career-best heave of 39-11 won her a WPIAL championship a week earlier.

Brad is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at beverett@unionprogress.com.

Brad Everett

Brad is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at beverett@unionprogress.com.