High school track: Bryce Robinson's track career at Edmond Memorial takes off after he finds stability
Bryce Robinson just needed a good place to go. He found it with the Billeter family, and when his grades and behavior improved, he became seriously involved in athletics
EDMOND — Bryce Robinson just needed a good place to go.
Kicked out of his home after his sophomore year at Edmond Memorial, his life was headed down a less-than-desirable path.
Bad crowd, bad choices, bad grades.
Robinson needed something good, but he found much more. The Billeters, an Edmond family with a daughter in Robinson's grade, took him in — temporarily at first.
They provided stability in his life, a positive support system that Robinson struggled to find with his mother. They took him to church, and made him feel important.
With that, all the negative momentum in Robinson's life turned upward.
His grades and behavior improved dramatically. He became seriously involved in athletics — he had always competed in various sports, but never fully committed to any of them.
It has been less than two years since he was kicked out of his home. Not even six months since he ran his first track meet.
Yet, last Monday afternoon, Robinson signed a letter of intent to accept a track scholarship to the University of Tulsa.
His journey from an on-the-edge teen to nationally ranked high school sprinter has been about as fast as some of his 100-meter times.
Robinson's fastest 100 so far is 10.42 seconds, just half a second off the state record. He set a Mid-State Conference meet record in the 200 in 21.06.
Tulsa began recruiting him in November, having never actually seen him run. Their interest was based solely on seeing his times posted online from an indoor meet in Arkansas — the first meet he ever ran in.
Oklahoma, LSU and a variety of other programs began to recruit him as well, but he settled on Tulsa in part because of his desire to go into mechanical engineering.
Robinson's athletic ceiling is high. He's still very raw on the track, having competed in only eight outdoor meets. His body hasn't taken the beating that years of training can bring. And he has become a student of the sport, hoping to learn every detail that might help him shave a few more tenths off his times.
“We're beginning to refine him and fine-tune him a little,” coach Chris Lowrey said. “That's one of the things that makes him so attractive to colleges. They know they can help sculpt him and mold him.
“If he looks raw now, he was even more raw in November — he was an open scab. And that just goes to his work ethic and diligence. He's a great leader for some of our younger kids.”
However, Robinson's bright future on the track is hardly the most valuable piece of his transformed life.
“He's so happy and so friendly,” Lowrey said. “He's just an amazing kid and so outgoing. From talking to him, you'd never guess the type of life he's had up until the last couple years.
If you're going to have a son, that's the type of son you'd like to have. To know what he's gone through to get here, it's uplifting to the human spirit, to see what people are capable of when they put their mind to it.”
The summer before his junior year, Robinson and his two siblings were living with his mother at her boyfriend's house.