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Milford’s ‘Blazer’ feeling right at home

An undergrad named Tommy Burns came up with the nickname of “Blazers” for the University of Alabama Birmingham athletic teams way back in 1978.

How did he know about Lauren Robinson way back then?

The ultimate “Blazer” of trails for the UAB cross country team this fall, Milford’s Robinson fits the description brilliantly.

She’s a Yankee in the heart of the Deep South at UAB. And you just don’t go from Milford to Birmingham without plenty of adjustments and questions.

“I get it a lot when I tell people where I’m from,” said Robinson, a state track champ with the Spartans last year. “People ask, ‘why are you here?’

“I say because I like the warm weather. I mean it was 60 today. And then I tell them that I run cross country and track.”

But in the classroom, socially and athletically, Robinson is off to a rousing collegiate start.

The freshman provided instant production for the Division 1 Blazers, taking 32nd in the Conference USA Championships with an 18:29.32 for the 5k. She was also 39th in the Blazer Invitational and 111th in the NCAA South Regional.

“Cross country went really well. I was really happy with my season,” said Robinson. “Honestly, my team, it’s been the closest team I’ve ever been on. We’re all around the same speed. We push ourselves in practice. Running with these girls has made me so much of a better runner.”

But it was outside of running where Robinson has made some amazing strides, too.

“I’m really happy I took the shot. The main reason I came down was to broaden my horizons, see a whole different part of the country,” she said. “I’m doing awesome in school, doing better than I did in high school. I have so much time to do

homework.”

Moving away from friends and family, far away, was certainly a change.

She wasn’t alone, though, as UAB recruits nationally. Her roommate happens to be from Milford, Mich.

“At first it was really easy. I had so much to keep me busy,” Robinson said. “There were so many new people to meet. Halfway through the semester it hit me, but I have a great team, they’ve been so supportive.”

The demands on a Division 1 college athlete are intense.

There was very little break between cross-country and track, which opens this week. Robinson did get to come home for Thanksgiving.

“I was home for a week and left before the snow started,” she joked.

After finals this Milford trail blazer will be back for a shortened Christmas break for three weeks, so catch her if you can because few have.

“I’m so excited to come home,” she said. “I can’t wait to run with my friends, hang out with my family and see my friends as much as possible.”

Contact Hector Longo at 594-1253 or hlongo@nashuatelegraph.com.