No matter the rank or class level of his competition, when Buffalo runner Isaiah Robinson races, he competes and finishes among the state’s best.
Robinson, a senior and member of Buffalo’s three-time Class A state champion 4x800-meter relay team, stands among the best runners for any class in the Mountain State. This season, he’s running against stiff competition from all three West Virginia classes, and will race at today’s Dick Darby Classic, hosted by Poca, a meet featuring many AA schools.
“He goes out to win every race,” Bison track coach Richie Wyant said. “You can tell when he takes off in the 800, he’s not waiting around to see how anyone else does. He runs his race. It’s a really steady, consistent pace that he has. He just enjoys running against the best around and, so far, he’s shown that he’s right there at the top with those guys.”
In previous seasons, Robinson ran the first leg of Buffalo’s heralded 4x800 relay. This season, he’ll run the anchor, but he’ll also look to add an individual title in the open 800.
“The 800 is definitely my favorite event for sure,” Robinson said.
At the 2013 state meet, Robinson finished second in 2:01.47, behind only his Bison teammate Dylan Rich, now running at the University of Kentucky.
“My goal is to get under two (minutes) by the end of the year in the 800,” Robinson said.
To do so, Robinson has challenged himself against runners from bigger schools at large invitationals.
Robinson won the 800 at the BB&T Classic on Friday, defeating competitors from AAA schools including Capital, George Washington, Hurricane and Winfield. At the Carlos Akers and Doc Hale Memorial Invitational, hosted by Cabell Midland, on March 29, Robinson claimed second competing against runners from two of the state’s top AAA teams in Midland and Parkersburg, among other attending schools.
“Sometimes when they see the ‘Buffalo,’ I think they kind of overlook us,” Robinson said. “I think they think ‘Oh, they’re just a small A school,’ versus a big AAA school, but I think we surprised a few teams.
“It’s definitely good competition for me. It’s definitely pushing me to get my best times.”
Wyant said Robinson loves the challenge of competing against athletes from larger schools.
“Obviously, from his times, you can tell he enjoys it,” he said.
Robinson’s competition must be aware, though, when racing against him, Wyant said.
“I don’t think they overlook him,” Wyant said. “They look at it as a challenge whenever they run against him. It’s not so much different just because it’s Class A Buffalo. If they’re going to run with him, they’re going to have to run their ‘A’ game to beat him.”
For all his success on the track, more may know Robinson for his endeavors playing football or basketball. Robinson said he considers track as a primary sport, though, not just one to use in training for his other pursuits.
“I did Field Day in elementary school and I was usually one of the faster kids in my class,” he said. “When I got to middle school there was track and I thought I might like it and it kind of just grew on me.”
Because of his involvement in other sports, Robinson said he must dedicate himself even more to his track training.
“Really, I just try to work hard in practice and do my best, because I go straight from football to basketball to track, and so when everybody’s out running I’m playing basketball, so I’m playing catch-up,” he said.
With his natural speed and work ethic, there’s no surprise Robinson ranks among the state’s best, Wyant said.
“He’s just got really good endurance and a lot of it’s God-given talent, but there’s some hard work with it, and he shows what can happen when you have those two things,” he said.