Senior Torie Robinson and sophomore Rebekah Smith have only competed on Clemson’s track and field team together for two years, but in their minds’ it feels like a lifetime. Together, the two track stars have pushed each other to become the conferences’ top 60m sprinters.
Throughout her track career at Clemson, Robinson has recorded several first-place finishes in the 60m, 200m, and as a member of the 4x100m relay team. Just recently, she placed second in the ACC after running 7.27 in the 60m dash at the Bob Pollack Invitational. She finished as runner-up in the 2017 ACC Indoor Championships and led the Tigers to a first-place victory in the 4x100m at the ACC outdoor meet. Robinson has also appeared in the NCAA Outdoor Championships for three years in a row. She graduated in December of 2017.
Smith has also recorded several first place finishes in the 60m, 100m, and 200m. Smith holds the team’s best time in the 60m after running 7.26 at the Bob Pollack Invitational. She also placed first after running 11.38 in the 100m dash at the 2017 ACC Outdoor Championship and recorded first place with a 7.31 60m dash at the 2017 ACC Championship.
Robinson and Smith both competed in the ACC Tournament on Friday in the 60m prelims and 200m prelims. Robinson placed fifth in the 200m dash to qualify for Saturday’s finals while also finishing second-place in the 60m dash.
Smith come in fourth-place in the 200m dash to qualify for Saturday’s finals while also clinching first-place in the 60m dash.
What’s gotten them to this point? Teamwork… despite natural competition.
“No matter what, we’re going to always be friends,” Robinson said. “If we’re down, or one of us bets each other, or one of us doesn’t run the time we don’t want to run, we always know we have each other and we know we can push each other to run faster and better. I think it’s a great thing.”
There are many ways in which the two have pushed each other to become such elite runners. The main takeaway? They each have weaknesses where the other possesses strengths.
“In the 60m, I have a great start, that’s just my specialty,” Robinson said. “But throughout the race, Rebekah has a good turn over and she’s able to open up her stride and go. Where my problem is, I have to try to stay open and keep going.”
While on the other side, Smith has learned from Robinson’s strength of opening her stride.
“At practice, we train hard with each other. When we do block starts, we make sure we go beside each other. Torie has a good block start, and I don’t have a good block start, so she pushes me to get out of the blocks faster. We just help each other out and critique each other. If I step outside when I come out of my blocks, she’ll tell me if I did something wrong. We motivate each other.”
Whether it’s working technique, fast-twitch muscle reactions, or strides at practice, they are each other’s best teachers and motivators.
“We both have different things to make each other better while we’re running,” Robinson said.
There will always be competition in their relationship, but it’s a good push. It’s always love at the end of the day.
“We always want to beat each other for sure, that’s what we probably think in our minds, but at the end of the day, we love each other, we both know we are good at what we do, and we love what we do. It’s not more so a frenemy, it’s a friend helping a friend get better.”
Robinson and Smith will both compete in the ACC Championship Finals on Saturday.
Picture courtesy Clemson Athletics