While on her quest to break the girls record in the 400 meters, Robin Reynolds has already etched her name in the state of Florida's record books.
The standout junior sprinter
has a total of seven individual state championships, along with two gold medals in last year's inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore. Her seven state titles are the most career individual state titles of any girls track and field athlete in Miami-Dade County history.
"Winning the gold medal showed people that I can compete against the best in the world," she said. "This is only the beginning; hopefully my hard work can get me into the 2012 Olympics."
As a freshman, Reynolds swept the state 4A-1A meet in the 100, 200, 400 and the long jump, while becoming the fifth female athlete in state history to win four individual events in a state meet and only the second to do so as a freshman. She continued her dominance last season after winning the long jump, 100 and 400.
As a result of a stellar sophomore season, Reynolds competed in the Youth Olympic Games last summer and came away with a gold medal in the 400. Her time in the 400 (52.57 seconds) was the fastest of any girl in the nation last year.
"That's her race," said her stepfather and coach, Carl Cunningham. "We put her in the 100 and 200 to keep her in shape but the quarter is the race she is most comfortable running."
Her second gold medal came as part of a medley relay team. Reynolds, who competed in six sports during the course of the season, was named the Class 4A-1A Girls Athlete of the Year by the Miami Herald, becoming the first athlete from Jackson, in boys or girls sports, to be named Athlete of the Year.
Reynolds, the younger sister of 2008 Olympic Games 400-meter bronze medalist and 2005 world champion Bershawn "Batman" Jackson, does not let the national attention slow her down. She owns personal bests of 11.56 in the 100 and 23.60 in the 200.
Her best time in the 400 this season is 54.21, second best in the country, and her 11.84 time in the 100 is ninth best nationally. She's also gone 24.29 in the 200.
"Hard work is something that my dad and I talk about all the time," she said. "There's a quote he always reminds me of that has to do with working hard and I keep it with me while I'm on the track."
That kind of awareness and understanding is something that her parents are extremely proud of.
"Her maturity level has improved greatly," her father said. "Before high school, when she would race, she always knew she would win. Now she knows she has to put in work and continues to get better every day."
When asked what she does in the offseason to prepare herself, she replied, "there is no offseason."
"After the school season is over, I run in an optimist league during the summer until August," she added. "When school begins in the fall, I run cross country to stay in shape and develop some of the things I'd like to work on."
Despite accomplishing in two years what many track athletes hardly accomplish in four, Reynolds still wants to improve on a few areas including "coming off the blocks and abdominal strength."
One of her main goals this season is to break the high school record in the 400, which is currently owned by former St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) alum and Olympic Gold medalist Sanya Richards, who set the national-best mark of 50.69 in 2002.
"I'm shooting for a 51 in the 400 this year," she said.
Reynolds has already become a legend throughout the high school circuit and continues to improve on her skills with hopes of having the same effect in college. Of the many schools that are out to gain her services, Reynolds has narrowed her list down to three.
"Right now my top schools are Florida, LSU and UCLA," she said.
Reynolds, whose parents have careers in law enforcement, hopes to study criminal justice while in college and possibly pursue a law degree.
"I like a lot of the cop shows like 'First 48' and stuff," she said. "That is something that I would want to pursue someday."
Cunningham, who is also the defensive line coach for Jackson's football program, teaches Reynolds to remain focused and is noticing great initiative in her work ethic.
"My main thing is to help her keep a level head," he said. "We push her to be the best. Sometimes she goes out and starts doing drills without me. That kind of stuff really shows her determination and how bad she wants to win."
Jackson Athletic Director Zoe Madison said Reynolds' already storied high school career has impacted the school.
“We use her as a role model here," she said. "When other athletes use sports as an excuse as to why they
don’t focus on their school work as much, we use her as an example. She
is excellent in academics and shows that she can do it both on and off