Russell Robinson’s path to a national championship

Junior Russell Robinson at the NCAA indoor championships from March 7–9 in Boston. Photo credit: Miami Athletics

Russell Robinson reached the peak of college track and field when he took home the national championship at the 2024 NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships for the triple jump in March.

Not only did he earn gold, Robinson, a senior track and field athlete, set several records, breaking his personal best and school record by setting a new facility high at the TRACK at New Balance.

Coming out of high school, Robinson was a Florida state champion for the long jump, but coming to Miami, he was a walk-on who faced an uphill battle.

“I came from being the best in my high school and in my state to being the worst jumper here at Miami,” Robinson said.

Though his career with the Hurricanes started with him playing catch up, Robinson attributes this challenge to his success.

“Training with guys that were better than me pushed me and motivated me to get better and do what I needed to,” he says.

Those “guys” were not just average names; they were athletes like Isaiah Holmes and Justin Forde, former collegiate track and field stars who were some of the best in the nation. They pushed Robinson to make the leaps necessary to get to the next level.

He made consistent strides year by year, competing in the ACC championships his first two years. Though COVID-19 took away the outdoor half of his freshman year, it allowed him to continue to build and improve.

Eventually, Robinson started to see the results of this work. In the long jump during the 2021 outdoor season, he became a record holder with a jump of 7.99 meters, a mark that has yet to be topped.

Going into 2022, Robinson notched multiple first-place finishes during the indoor season. It was during that year’s outdoor season, however, that he really began to take off. Notching consistent first-place finishes throughout the season, he eventually took home his first ACC triple jump championship, leading into a third-place finish at the NCAA preliminary round and finishing with second-team All-American honors in the triple jump.

As he continued to progress, he shifted his focus from being the best on the team to being the best in the nation.

“As those guys left, I used my motivation as other guys around the nation,” Robinson said. “Guys that I compete against almost every other weekend, just thinking that they’re doing this in the weight room or this on the track. I need to put my 100% in to keep up with them or go even further.”

After a phenomenal 2023 campaign, Robinson certified himself as not only one of the best in the nation but in the world, representing Team USA at the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association Under 23 Championships and earning a gold medal.

During the indoor season, he took double silver medals in both the long jump and triple jump, this time earning first-team All-American honors.

Then, during the outdoor season, he finished in the top three for the ACC, then took second place in the national championship. Through it all, he became the outdoor record holder in the triple jump.

This all culminated in the last year when Robinson reached the pinnacle of his college career. He has consistently been at the top of the ACC and the nation in the triple jump through both the indoor and outdoor seasons. To top off his indoor season, he finished second for the ACC and took home a gold, becoming the national champion.

It’s been a long and tough process to get to this point, and it’s a journey Russell credits the people around him for making happen.

“Just trusting the process and not wavering you know, believing in my coach and the training program, and everyone here on the training staff that’s helped me become the best I could be,” Robinson said.

This staff includes long-time jump and combined events coach Rob Jarvis, who saw the potential in Russell and helped him grow into one of the best triple jumpers in the nation.

“As an 18-year-old freshman he had the dream, determination, and trust … Russ and his family understood the vision and four-year plan I laid out for them,” Jarvis said.

He laid the foundation and a clear plan to ensure Robinson’s success.

Though his path hasn’t been easy, Robinson’s goals have been clear, and he knows which ones he wants to continue to pursue.

“I definitely want an ACC title,” Robinson said. “It’s been two years since I had my last one.”

Robinson also has his sights set on another national title and Paris for the Olympics. Trials for the Olympics are in June.