Human Interest

College track star balances school and motherhood: ‘My son is my biggest motivation’

Jolie Robinson is a standout track star at Saddleback College. In April, she won the heptathlon title at the Southern California Regional Finals, won two events, and set multiple personal bests. She has broken records and shown incredible promise in track and field. Yet Robinson isn’t just any student athlete — she’s also a mom, who experienced an unplanned pregnancy in high school and is now parenting her son while dominating in her chosen sport.

Robinson, a pastor’s daughter, grew up as the youngest of four kids. She began competing in track her freshman year of high school, and quickly realized it was something at which she excelled. She was set to go to a Division I university on a track scholarship her senior year, until she realized she was pregnant. But even then, she kept going.

“I still competed without telling my coaches and broke two of my high school records while pregnant,” she told Live Action News. But that didn’t mean it wasn’t a challenging turn of events.

READ: Mom of toddler with special needs is most decorated Black athlete in Winter Olympics history

She and her boyfriend had been together for three years when she became pregnant, and she was scared to tell her family at first. “So much was going through my mind regarding sports, school and my family,” she said. “I have such a loving and supportive family that I knew they would accept me through this… but breaking the news was still difficult to do. When I finally told my family, they hugged me and let me know everything would be all right. I felt a type of peace over me, knowing that this is all part of God’s plan for me.”

Shared on Jolie Robinson’s Instagram

Today, she and her ex-boyfriend are not together, but are focused on their son. “It wasn’t always easy to do that but we have worked hard to get to the healthy parenting situation we are in now,” she said.

For two years, Robinson focused on just being a mom, spending time with her son before deciding to not only go back to school, but try to get back into sports again as well. “My son is my biggest motivation,” she said. “I knew I would have a different experience than most people around me starting college late and with a toddler, but my parents were supportive of me going back to school, and I have seen so many other single moms accomplish going to school and working, so I knew I could do it, too. The extra step was knowing if I could play sports again or not.”

It ended up being no problem for Robinson, who is excelling in all of her roles. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

“It can definitely be hard to manage my time being a mom, student, athlete and a social life, but it keeps me busy and it’s always a lot of fun,” she said. “My friends, teammates and coaches are so supportive, and love having my son around, even if that means he will be at a practice every once in a while. I had always been an athlete, and then I stopped playing sports — I felt like I lost a part of me. But I had to experience that I could still be me and do the things I love, and also be a great mom.”

Photo shared on Jolie Robinson’s Instagram page.

A recent Instagram post from Robinson got thousands of views, with Robinson proudly standing on the first place podium while holding her son.

Robinson said she feels a huge sense of accomplishment at being able to succeed as a young mom, and that it means even more for him to be able to see her compete, and hopes to show other moms that it’s still possible to go after your dreams.

“I appreciate being able to play sports even more now, and I would encourage other young moms to keep working hard for what they want in life,” she said. “I would also like to encourage young moms that may be expecting and scared about what may happen to stay positive and know it’s possible. My biggest piece of advice is to have a support group of people close to you, and don’t be afraid to ask for help!”

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