Bloomington — Getting ready for the final 300-meter hurdle race of her career, Ella Robinson was cool, calm and collected.
The Zionsville senior knew that she had put in all the work, and was completely at peace at the outcome — win or lose.
And all that hard work paid off in a big way, as she became just the second girls track state champion in Zionsville history with a blistering 42.05.
"Honestly, I am speechless," Robinson said. "I never thought I would be winning state. Really until a couple weeks ago, I didn't even think of it as a possibility. Now that I have done it, I don't even know what to say."
Robinson joins Christen Hanley (discus, 2001) as the only two girls track state champions in Zionsville history.
Robinson came close as a freshman and a sophomore, finishing runner-up to Culver Academy's Addison Coy both times. Last year she entered the season as one of the favorites, but suffered a hamstring injury and missed nearly the entire season.
A year later, after working hard to get back to the top of her game, she got the state championship she had been searching for.
"God taught me a lot of patience coming here," Robinson said. "I knew it wasn't going to be easy, but I had my heart set on glorifying my God getting back to where I was. I worked hard, and I didn't think I would be at this point, but it feels really good."
Robinson's time was the third best in state history.
The only two times faster were Symone Black's 41.36 in 2014 and Skyler Carpenter's 42.03 in 2011.
While she was the favorite coming in, she had to deliver in the race, and she did in a big way.
"I was a lot more calm here than I was at regionals," Robinson said. "I made it, I was at state and got to race against the best girls in the state. It was just an honor."
Robinson grabbed control of the race early.
Running in lane four, she made up the stagger on the two girls on her immediate right before getting to the first hurdle.
"Before the race, I just went in with the mindset that it didn't matter how I ran," Robinson said. "I was just so happy to be here again. I told myself 'Glory to God' if it's good and 'Glory to God' if it's bad. If it went well, I would definitely take it and use it as motivation to do even better at nationals."
She continued to pull away throughout the race.
The only girl within 1.9 seconds of her was Warren Central's K'Ja Talley, who finished in 42.90. Robinson said that she never felt like she had the title in the bag, and that's why she kept pushing forward.
"That peace never came over me because I could see the other girl's shadow out of the corner of my eye," Robinson said. "Up until the finish line, I knew I just had to keep pushing."
Robinson said she is still undecided on whether she will run the Midwest Meet of Champions next week in Grand Rapids, Mich.
She will be running in New Balance Nationals before heading to Purdue where, as of now, she won't be continuing her track career.
"My heart is not in a place to change," Robinson said. "I have the time to walk on or possibly get a scholarship, but that's not my plan."