Gymnastics background propelling Carroll trackster

Posted Wednesday, Jul. 31, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Sarah Robinson knew her gymnastics days were over moments into her trial session with a gym in Southlake.

A career filled with injuries reached the end when she broke her foot. Lucky for Robinson, the Carroll senior-to-be was pretty good at something else – track.

In fact, Robinson enjoyed track so much, she gravitated toward an event that embodied gymnastics characteristics – the hurdles. An appearance at the state Class 5A meet in Austin in the 300 furthered the passion. She placed eighth.

Really, that’s not the entire story. Robinson won the District 4-5A track championship in the long jump, 100 and 300 hurdles and running a leg in the 4x400 relay.

But the summer she’s had with Team Extreme suggests that the sport is probably taking her to college. Last weekend in the USA Track & Field Junior Olympics in Greenville, N.C., she competed in the 400 hurdles. In last Saturday’s semifinals, she proved how far she has come. While she didn’t advance to the finals, she ran a personal best 63.9 seconds.

“It’s so exciting for me because so much work has gone into this,” Robinson said. “I’ve been doing this for so many months and month. But with track, you don’t see the benefits. You have to wait for it to happen.”

Robinson competed in gymnastics for about 13 years. While she enjoyed the rigorous training, the injuries were just becoming too much. She picked up track in seventh grade and seemed to have a natural feel for the hurdles.

Actually, several of the gymnastics skills carried over to the hurdles. She pointed to the technical aspects of the sport and flexibility that allows her to cross hurdles. A lot of work on the balance beam also helped out.

“Sarah is an extremely dedicated athlete, from the way she trains to the way she eats,” Carroll track coach Renae Osborne said. “She improved her form and speed over the hurdles last summer and came back strong. Her leadership for our team is demonstrated by her incredible work ethic.”

Robinson’s work in the two high school hurdle events are important, but now there is a future out there in college track. She’s heard from the likes of TCU, Nebraska, Villanova, Baylor, Kansas State, Cornell and Loyola (Ill.). While none of those schools have offered an athletic scholarship, that may be more of a question of when than if.

Running in college had been a dream a long time ago. Now, it appears to be more of a reality. A strong senior season in any of the events should enhance those chances.

That strong season means a return to the state track and field meet. If she does, it would be a shot a redemption. In the 300 meet, she stumbled over the last hurdle. While she wasn’t going to win, that’s not the way she wanted to finish, either.

“It was the best 250 I had ever run but as I was going down, there was nothing I could do to stop it,” Robinson said. “I’m just going to keep working and making sure I keep improving. Who knows? Maybe I’ll even surprise myself next year.”

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