There are lots of great storylines heading into the NJSIAA Group Championships this weekend, but you won't find one any better than the one involving Sincere Robinson.
If you've never heard of Robinson before this season, it's because the senior at Newark Tech never stepped on a track or a runway until this past April 12.
But somehow, someway, just two months after seeing a hurdle, a sand pit, and a high jump bar for the first time ever, Robinson finds himself on the verge of making history at the State Group 2 Championships this Friday and Saturday at Franklin High School.
Robinson, whose meteoric rise to stardom includes four individual victories each at the Super Essex Conference Championships, at the Essex County Championships, and at the North Jersey, Sec. 2 Group 2 Championships, has a great chance to become just the sixth boy in state history to join the very exclusive "Quad Club!'' The "Quad Club'' consists of athletes who have won four individual events at a single State Group Championship meet!
The 6-5, 175-pound Robinson is the top seed in all four of his events after his victories at the sectional meet in the 110 hurdles (14.60), the long jump (23-9.75), the high jump (6-4), and the triple jump (46-11). All were PR's except the TJ where he missed his PR by just an inch.
If Robinson can pull off the Quad, he would become the first boy to ever accomplish the feat in Group 2, and he would be the first Quad member to win three field events as part of his four victories.
THE NJ BOYS QUAD CLUB
Royce Reed of Bridgeton won the 400 hurdles (53.04), the javelin (216-0), the 400 (47.12), and the 200 (21.92) at the 1995 State Group 3 Championships at Frank Jost Field in South Plainfield
Todd Matthews of Notre Dame won the 100 (10.89), the 110 hurdles (13.60), the 200 (22.08), and the long jump (21-10), at the 1998 Non-Public A Championships at Hub Stine Field in Plainfield.
Reuben McCoy of Winslow won the 400 hurdles (51.99), the 400 (46.77), the 110 hurdles (14.32), and the 200 (21.14) at the 2004 Group 3 Championships at Frank Jost Field in South Plainfield.
Da'mon Merkerson of St. Mary's in Rutherford won the 100 (11.08), 400 (48.97), 800 (1:59.06), and the 200 (22.36) at the 2007 Non-Public B State Championships at Silver Eagle Stadium in Egg Harbor.
Taylor McLaughlin of Union Catholic won the 400 hurdles (51.73), the 400 (47.63), the 110 hurdles (14.28), and the 200 (21.45) at the 2015 Non-Public A Championships at Frank Jost Field in South Plainfield.
Robinson's quest to join those five stars begins when he competes in the triple jump and high jump on Friday, and resumes on Saturday in the high hurdles and long jump on Saturday.
"It will be an honor to be part of that club,'' said Robinson, who is undecided about which college he'll attend. "But there's always work to be done, so my coaches and I are going to keep grinding, and depending on how much work I put in practice, the sky is the limit. It will be a gift from God that I win 4 events again. I've dreamed about being a big name athlete, but now that I may have a chance of that happening, it's exciting. But, I need to remain humble and keep God first.''
Kcyied Zahir, in his first year as head coach at Newark Tech, said Robinson, while still learning and improving every day, has the talent and the drive to win all four of his events. He also said that Robinson is the perfect athlete to inspire others to help rebuild the Newark Tech program
"It will be tough for him to do, but it's more than possible,'' said Zahir. "Although our focus is not on how many titles he can win, it would mean a lot for the school and our track program, which is in its rebuilding stage. I know what it takes to build a program, and athletes like him inspire so many other students to want to give track and field a try.''
What made Robinson, a former basketball player at Newark Tech, finally come out for the track and field team this spring?
"Track and field is a very exciting sport, and watching Usain Bolt and other big name athletes do what they do on the track made me want to do the same one day,'' said Robinson. "Besides, God blessed me with a lot of talent, and with my work ethic, I know that I can one day do something great in this field of athletics.
Robinson sees what he's accomplishing as just the start of something that is going to get bigger and bigger, and he said his coaches always have him in position to rise to the challenge.
"To be honest with you, the things that I've accomplished are just step stools to something bigger than myself,'' said Robinson. "My coaches and I are always working to the extreme in practice, so when competition day comes, everything we've done in practice transfers over.''
What's been the hardest thing for Robinson, who has scissor-kicked his way over 6-4 this season, to do in his first season?
"The hardest part about all my events is probably changing my spikes in between competition,'' said Robinson. "Multiple events comes with multiple spikes. The triple jump is probably the hardest event because it takes a lot of technique, strength, and patience.''
Robinson's favorite event?
"I love the 110 hurdles' he said. "It reminds me that in life I'm going to always have hurdles, but I can always get through them or over them.''
Robinson said he loves the camaraderie that track and field brings.
"The things that I love about being a track and field athlete are the bonds that you make with the people you compete against, how your body transforms while being one, and knowing that you will always have good people who've trained you in your corner,'' said Robinson.
One of the biggest challenges for Robinson has been handling the spotlight that he suddenly finds himself in.
"Sincere's biggest challenge has been handling the attention that comes from his fellow competitors and spectators when they witness his ability,'' said Zahir. "It's not often that you see a kid scissor kick 6-4 in the high jump. People gravitate to him. He's such an amazing talent with an even more amazing story. It's all happening so fast, and as his coach I just try my best to keep him grounded and focused only on the immediate task at hand.''
Robinson credits the amazing job by Zahir and the rest of the coaching staff for his meteoric rise to stardom.
"Coach Zahir and my other coaches are the true MVP's because I'm still new to this track life, and for them to fill me up with the amount of knowledge that they did in only a short amount of time is truly mind blowing,'' said Robinson. "If I could give them my medals, I would.''
Zahir said that once Robinson trusted his advice and the training etc., it all started to come together.
"We had a long conversation about trust, and I let him know that it's not up to him to do anything but run and jump, and and trust me when I tell him what adjustments are needed. It was a struggle at first, but once he saw success, he began to trust even more. I told him the other day I told him that if he fouls, I will fix it. He said he trusted me and he ran down the runway and jumped 23-9 without even hitting the board!! Now I got him. We are a winning team together.''
Robinson's said his goal is simple.
"My goal is to allow God to work as well as doing my part and allowing my coaches to do their part because when that happen, the magic happens,'' he said.