In my 35 years of covering high school sports in the St. Louis area, I have had the pleasure of watching some incredible athletes accomplish some tremendous feats in athletic competition.
But the one youngster who has taken his success to an extraordinary level has been former Hazelwood West track and field star Justin Robinson, who will be entering his freshman year at Arizona State University. What Robinson has been able to accomplish in his sport against the level of competition he’s faced is unheard of for a high school athlete from St. Louis.
Robinson added to his incredible track legacy last weekend when he competed at the American Track Series Race in Marietta, Georgia. In his first outdoor competition of the year, Robinson finished first in the 400-meter dash in a time of 44.91 seconds, which is currently the No. 1 time in the world. Not the top time in the world among high school athletes. It’s the No. 1 time in the world among all athletes who compete in the 400.
Robinson also became the second high school athlete in history to turn in two sub-45-second races in the 400. He completed the lap in 44.84 seconds at the Great Southwest Classic in Albuquerque, N.M. in 2019 after his junior season when he led Hazelwood West to the Class 5 state championship.
Later that summer, Robinson represented the USA in the Pan-American Games where he earned a bronze medal in the 400 and ran a spectacular 43.5-second third leg to help the USA to a bronze medal in the 4x400-meter relay. That’s blazing folks. At the time, he was a 17-year old competing on the world stage against seasoned professional athletes and thriving. It has been really astounding to watch this happen.
The ultimate goal for Robinson and all of us who have marveled at his exploits is to see him compete as an Olympian. The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the Olympic Games back to 2021. It would have been great just to see Robinson at least compete in the Olympic Trials in the 400 as a high school senior.
The 400-meter dash has always been the baby of the United States as American athletes have dominated this event on the worldwide stage for generations. Some of the greatest athletes in the history of track and field such as Lee Evans, Butch Reynolds, Michael Johnson and so many others have starred in the 400. An athlete has to be great just to qualify for the finals of the USA Olympic Trials in the event, much less make it to the Olympics.
It remains to be seen what the future holds for his promising track prodigy, but what we have already seen from Justin Robinson in terms of the times he has run and his success he has enjoyed on the big stage; it has been truly remarkable.
Napheesa Collier is WNBA Player of the Week
Former Incarnate Word Academy girls basketball star Napheesa Collier was selected as the Player of the Week in the WNBA after a series of excellent performances. In three games for the Minnesota Lynx, Collier averaged 18.3 points, 13 rebounds and three assists a game.
Collier had 26 points, 13 rebounds and five assists in a 94-64 victory over the New York Liberty. She also had 21 points and 14 rebounds in a loss to the Las Vegas Aces. For the season, Collier is averaging 14.9 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists while shooting 49 percent from the field in heading the Lynx to a 7-3 record after 10 games. Collier is coming off an excellent debut season for the Lynx when she was voted as the WNBA’s Rookie of the Year.
A 6’1” forward, Collier was a McDonald’s All-American and a three-time state champion at Incarnate Word. She went to attend national women’s basketball powerhouse Connecticut, where she helped the Huskies win two NCAA national championships.
Sug signs with WNBA champs
Former Parkway North girls basketball star Alecia “Sug” Sutton was signed by the WNBA champion Washington Mystics over the weekend. The 5’9” Sutton was a second-round selection of the Mystics in last spring’s WNBA Draft. Sutton will join the team in the WNBA’s “Wubble” at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, where all the league games are being played. After a stellar career at Parkway North, Sutton went on to have an excellent collegiate career at Texas.