FORT WAYNE – During last months Hoosier State Relays indoor track meet at Indiana Wesleyan, Wayne boys coach Tom Hogan was near the long jump pit working with star senior Carrington Robinson on his footwork.
Nothing seemed to be working, and because he felt like he was doing more harm than good, Hogan walked away.
Eventually, Robinson figured what steps worked best and got a career-best indoor effort of 23 feet, 3 1/4 inches to win the big-school long jump competition.
It has been a slow three-year process, but Robinson has picked up a meticulous, independent attitude that has him on the verge of being one of the best long jumpers in the state.
Things have to be a certain way for him, Hogan said. He is a unique person with the stuff he does. If they dont go that way, he wont function very well.
That hasnt always been the case.
Robinson came to Wayne after Elmhurst closed. He had competed in track and field as a freshman with the Trojans.
Hogan said Robinson was a talented, raw athlete who needed some self-guidance.
At times, Carrington wasnt very assertive in terms of being ready for the long jump, knowing when to be there, Hogan said. There was no sense of urgency. What we have tried to instill in him is that he needs to be a little more focused and be a little more independent and not rely on everybody to always be there for you.
He has grown a lot from that standpoint. Now I dont have to tell him where to be and what to do. I dont have to do that stuff anymore.
Over the last couple of years, especially last summer, something clicked with Robinson.
(Hogan) has been teaching me more, and I have been incorporating more what he tells me, Robinson said. It is a process that I have learned over the years. It took a little longer than what it should have.
I recently started practicing my steps. Usually in practice, I just did running and a little bit of field events. It can affect you greatly because if my steps are off, I try to fix them in the same session and get them on, because every little bit counts.
Also a 1,600 relay runner, hurdler and high jumper, Robinsons best event has become the long jump. Along with his title in the Hoosier State Relays, Robinson won the Fort Wayne Invitational indoor meet at IPFW in March at 21-9 1/2 .
While improving his mental game, Robinson has gotten stronger and better conditioned with at-home exercising, in-school weight training and a stint on the Generals cross country team in the fall.
All that contributes to some of the outcomes of track and field, said Robinson, who is leaning toward Indiana Tech for college track.
The combination of everything, working out and being stronger mentally, is contributed to all that.
Motivation looms for Robinson in the form of the state meet in May. Robinson has been to state the last two years and hasnt been able to place in the top eight, including an 18th place in the 2012 long jump.
A top-three finish is his goal.
Of course it is a great opportunity to just be there, but it is different to do something and place, he said of the state meet. I could do more.