Brooks Robinson is an easy guy to cheer for.
The incoming senior at Maple Mountain High School struggled through an injury-filled junior campaign for his school's championship wrestling team. After fighting back from a torn meniscus, Robinson was forced out of the state 4A tournament last February due to broken ribs suffered during one of his matches.
With all of that behind him, Robinson finished a strong summer season by winning the gold medal in the freestyle and a silver medal in the Greco-Roman styles of wrestling in the 167.5-pound weight class at the Pan American Games in Colombia, where he was giving up 10 pounds to his opponents.
In all, Robinson won six matches while dropping just one.
En route to his title in freestyle, the Utah wrestler beat his opponent from Puerto Rico with a technical fall (winning 6-0) before grinding out a 7-4 victory over his opponent from Venezuela. In the finals, it was all Robinson, who pinned his opponent from Mexico in the first round. This led to Robinson's celebration.
"I jumped up and pointed at the fans from the United States," Robinson said. "It was the greatest feeling."
The day before the freestyle tournament, Robinson took silver in Greco-Roman. He won his first matches in impressive style before dropping the final to a wrestler from Mexico.
Winning gold and silver left Robinson proud of his achievements. He credited his coach — Utah resident Justin Ruiz, a former two-time world champion — with giving him words of wisdom.
"Justin reminded me of the time and hard work I had put into getting prepared for this tournament," Robinson said. "I knew no matter what had happened in the past, I was at my best when I was at this tournament."
In addition to his double-medal performance at the Pan Am Games, Robinson won the 145-pound weight class in freestyle and Greco-Roman in Utah, went undefeated in the Western Duals for Team Utah, finishing 6-0, dominated the Junior Nation Duals, winning eight matches all by tech fall or pin, and was named to the All-Dual National team.
"My parents (Don and Becky Robinson) have been a great support to me," Brooks said. "They have believed in my dreams and have always encouraged me, especially after those injuries."
Robinson is a senior and will be a big part of Maple Mountain defending its 4A state title.
Ruiz noted Robinson's work ethic and drive as positives for the wrestler.
"Brooks was always at practice," he said. "He had a tough time during his high school junior year, but he didn't shy away from the hard work, and it showed in what he was able to accomplish."
Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company