Bloomfield's Robinson signs to wrestle at Otero

The recent graduate will wrestle at a community college in Colorado

Jake Newby
Bloomfield's JD Robinson, center, signs his national letter of intent on Monday at Bloomfield High School, surrounded by his family and coaches.

BLOOMFIELD — JD Robinson, one of Bloomfield High School's most explosive athletes and personalities, will wrestle at the next level after officially committing today to Otero Junior College.

Robinson, who had been in contact with Otero wrestling coaches and staff since late March, said no other schools were on his radar. The recent Bloomfield High graduate said he's excited to grow as both a wrestler and a student at the La Junta, Colo., school.

"These guys gave me an opportunity, and I'm glad about it," he said. "These guys are going to take care of me. They're going to help me excel in sports and in school — that's the big thing."

The upcoming wrestling season will be the inaugural one for Otero. The Rattlers, under the direction of coach Chris Hacker, will compete in Region 9 of the National Junior College Athletic Association.

Robinson compiled a wrestling record of 39-6 as a senior and put an exclamation point on his final season by winning his first state championship.

The road to that elusive state title was long for Robinson. In last year's state final, he was upset by Robertson's Dominic Lucero — a lower seed — while wrestling at 160 pounds. Exactly one year later in the 182-pound state final, Robinson spotted Silver's Paul Montoya an early 2-1 advantage before pinning him 1 minute and 41 seconds into the first period.

With more than three months to reflect on the biggest win of his prep career, Robinson said the lumps he took along the way made his state-title win that much sweeter.

Bloomfield's JD Robinson celebrates after winning the state championship of the 182-pound class on Feb. 21 at the 4A state tournament at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho.

"It was a tough road. I had to battle champions on top of champions. The only losses I had at state were to multiple state champs," he said. "It just took time. I got third as a freshman, second as a sophomore, second as a junior and then I got it as a senior."

An All-State second-team running back last football season, Robinson was a force on the gridiron, just like he was on the mat. Bloomfield wrestling coach Greg Shoemaker said he saw the potential in Robinson back in 2011, and he's happy Robinson has chosen to wrestle at the college level.

"I knew he could be great from the time he was in eighth grade," Shoemaker said. "And he kept his academics up well enough to make that run every year. He was kind of between football and wrestling, and I'm really pleased to see him go do the wrestling."

Robinson — who admitted he's "not big on school" — said he is focused on his academics, and he thinks he has the right team of people pushing him to find success in the classroom.

"Sports are great, but the coaches (at Otero) said they will really, really help me with schooling, and that's what stuck in my mind," Robinson said. "I'm going to get there, and all I'm going to do is study, go to class and wrestle."

When he signed his national letter of intent, Robinson was surrounded by people who influenced him throughout his high school career: his father, Jay Robinson; coach Shoemaker; Kirtland Central wrestling coach JJ Sandoval; his personal coach, Bruce Hatch; and his strength and conditioning coaches, Robert Griego and Frank DeHoyos.

Robinson said their combined impact on him was so great that he wants to one day do for young student athletes what they did for him and become a strength and conditioning coach.

"Those people helped me get to where I am. When I was down, they helped me back up. When I was up, they kept me up," Robinson said. "I want to work with young student athletes and help them achieve the same goals that I once had."

Robinson said he received a small scholarship from Otero and will study health as part of his quest to become a high school teacher.

Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.