Field event brotherhood

Field event brotherhood

With the exception of relay events, track & field athletes can work independently on their respective events.

Albion College field athletes Richard Annorat, Jephte Jean-Claude and Rayshawn Robinson, however, have formed a brotherhood that extends well beyond sport.

Individually, each has an abundance of athletic talent.

  • Robinson, from nearly Jackson, Mich., was an all-around athlete, competing in football, basketball and baseball for the Vikings. His athleticism spanned from playing quarterback in football to shortstop and pitcher in baseball.
  • Jean-Claude, who prepped at Traverse City Central, only began playing football as a junior in high school.
  • Annorat, from Lely High School in Naples, Fla., is the player/coach who has harnessed all that athletic ability by explaining the intricate details involved in achieving success in events like the triple jump.

While playing football for the Britons is what introduced the three men to each other, their bond in and away from track & field is special.

"We get each other in all aspects –not only in sports, but in life," Robinson, the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association champion in the javelin throw in 2017, said. "When we get to the track it's like one of those family reunions you haven't been to in five years because we're about to have so much fun. I could have had a bad day, but then I go and watch them jump and it becomes a great day because we are challenging each other."

An example of the challenging aspect of the relationship came in a mid-April meet. Robinson called out the distance he wanted Jean-Claude to achieve in the triple jump. Jean-Claude wound up sailing 48' ½" that day, the third-longest jump in Albion history and an effort that has him tied for 14th on the Division III performance list as the NCAA Division III Championship approaches.

"Once one of us gets cranked, it's over because we see greatness in each other," Annorat, the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association indoor champion in the high jump who advanced to compete in the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championship, said. "There is never a dull moment when we're together."

Jean-Claude added, "These two know how to push my buttons. I would not be achieving as much as I have if I didn't have them watching my back."

The interesting thing is, Jean-Claude and Robinson were novices in track & field when they arrived at Albion. However, as Robinson says they had "a goal to stick out in good ways" and it didn't take long before they became champions when they combined their natural athletic ability with Annorat's coaching.

Annorat and Jean-Claude achieved all-region distinction in their respective events last year, and being that close to qualifying for the NCAA Championship provided the inspiration for what they could achieve together.

"I didn't know what the triple jump was (when I came to Albion)," Jean-Claude, the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association champion indoor and outdoor champion in the triple jump in 2018, said.

Robinson added, "Richard explained the phases – that the triple jump was like doing the long jump three times. He is going to be a great teacher because he knows how people work. I'm a craftsman who is concerned with technique, but he simplified it for Jephte because he needs to feel it."

While All-America status continues to be a goal for all three, they stand out off the track, as well. All three work with youth and the community and Jean-Claude and Robinson lend their talent to the Euphonics, Albion's student a Capella singing group, as beat boxers.

"We see greatness in each other," Annorat said. "We keep each other accountable and honest off the track. There are going to be people who look at us because we stand out and we want to be a positive influence on the people around us."

Robinson added, "That's what sets us apart from everyone else. Our standard is to stand out because our group never follows behind anyone. We stick out in good ways. We hold each other at a highest standard than everyone else and anything less is not working for this friendship."

Follow the Britons on Twitter: @AlbionXCTF