Leaping For The Top

Ricky Robertson of Hernando is just under six feet tall and routinely jumps seven and a half feet. But, his life goal comes down to less than one quarter of an inch.

You see, Robertson, an All-Southeastern Conference and All-American high jumper for the Ole Miss track team, has big dreams of competing in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

And he is so close to fulfilling that dream.

Just last month, Robertson finished fourth in the high jump at the U.S. Championships, just missing third place by a fourth of an inch and a spot on Team USA for the 2011 World Championships.

"It was really close," said Robertson, a rising junior at Ole Miss. "In my first two years at Ole Miss, I've met most of my goals, but making the Olympics is the top goal that I want to reach this coming year."

Robertson, one of the best overall athletes in Hernando history, began his track career in his 10th grade year, while also playing basketball, football, and baseball (through his freshman year) for the Tigers.

He won the Mississippi state title in the high jump and long jump as a junior and senior and had the best high jump record in the nation as a senior, with a jump of seven feet, three inches, also setting a new Mississippi state record, breaking a mark that had stood since 1991.

"He's a great athlete that excelled in a lot of sports. He's also a really hard worker that wants to be successful," said Robertson's head track and football coach at Hernando, Anthony Jenkins.

Robertson parlayed his amazing leaping ability to the next level, picking Ole Miss over LSU, Florida, Auburn, and Mississippi State, among others.

Ricky Robertson
Nathan Latil, Ole Miss Athletics
Robertson wasted no time in translating his high school success to college prowess.

As a freshman, he was a USTFCCCA All-American in both indoor and outdoor high jump and long jump events. He was also named SEC indoor and outdoor Freshman Field Athlete of the Year, after winning both the SEC Indoor and Outdoor high jump titles.

Robertson set the all-time Ole Miss record at just over seven feet five inches and won the prestigious Drake Relays as a freshman.

Robertson continued to climb the ladder of success this past year as a sophomore, being named First Team NCAA All-American, with a second place finish in the NCAA Championships after capturing the SEC Indoor and Outdoor titles. He also broke his own school record with a jump of seven feet, six inches.

But the Hernando native is not ready to rest on his laurels when the season starts in earnest in December.

"I want to beat my best jump, win the SEC, NCAA, and make it to the Olympics," Robertson said.

To accomplish those goals, Robertson is keeping up his exacting training regimen.

"During the off-season, I do a lot of weight-lifting and running. When the season starts, I still do those things but a little less because there is a meet every week or so through the spring," said Robertson. "God gave me the ability; it is up to me to work hard and to improve my technique."

That jumping technique can mean the difference between fractions of an inch, which can make all the difference when competing against the top track athletes in the U.S. and the world, such as ones at Indiana and Kansas State.

"When I get ready to jump, I try to clear my mind, block everything out, and just focus on what I'm supposed to do," said Robertson, who is getting ready for a World Meet in Mexico later this month.

Robertson is undecided about life after track, but there are pro possibilities in the sport after college, with sponsorships.

But the 2012 track and field season and the Summer Olympics are foremost on his mind.

"I just need to work hard and stay healthy and good things should happen," Robertson said.

Good things wrapped up in red, white, and blue, and possibly gold.

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