Girls Cross Country: Lincoln-Way Central’s Robinson all heart
Much like the twists and turns of a cross country race, Lincoln-Way Central senior JJ Robinson has been on a challenging course.
“She’s a very inspiring figure,’’ Central coach Matt Bowden said.
Two years ago, Robinson passed out during the season-opening race at Mokena Park and still recovered to finish the course. Robinson said she had chest pains and started getting dizzy during the meet against the other Lincoln-Way schools.
When she passed out a second time after the event, her parents took her to Silver Cross Hospital. She later was diagnosed with an enlarged heart and told running was out of the question.
“I was really mad because I had been running since fifth grade,’’ Robinson said. “I was very confused and upset.
“I thought I wouldn’t be able to run ever again.’’
The picture brightened considerably during the next several months. Although Robinson had to miss the rest of her sophomore cross country season, her prognosis continued to improve.
“I kept going back to get tests and they kept telling me I was getting better, that my heart was shrinking back,’’ Robinson said. “After a while, they told me I was OK.
“They said it was like a virus. They never really found a cause.’’
Robinson was running again in January, getting ready for the 2012 track season. After being “really out of shape’’ at first, Robinson said it took only a few weeks to get back into running condition.
Central made it to the Class 3A state cross country meet last season for the third year in a row — this time with Robinson on the team.
“That was the moment where I realized I could actually still continue to be good at running,’’ she said.
Her brother, Sam, and sister, Cara, had run at Central — a family tradition Robinson wanted to maintain.
Bowden said JJ has been Central’s No. 1 runner most of this season. The Knights won invitationals at T.F. South and Whitney Young and took second at Edwardsville.
Bowden believes Robinson, with her “consistency” and “intelligence,” has “a very good shot’’ at winning individual titles at the SouthWest Suburban Red Meet and the Andrew Regional.
“And I think she’s going to lead the team to state for the fourth year in a row,’’ Bowden said.
While Robinson has gotten smarter over the years as a runner, learning to not go out too fast in the first mile, she’s also learned something just as valuable.
“I try to not take running for granted anymore,’’ she said.
“I think she said it well, not taking it for granted and really enjoying it, making sure she gets the most out of every workout,’’ Bowden said. “She pushes herself as hard as anyone I’ve ever coached.
“She’s a remarkable young lady.’’