PERU - Very few have ever held the title of three time new York State Public High School Athletic Association wrestling champion.
Even fewer have held the title of four-time champion.
That is the goal of Peru senior Arik Robinson, who has had his armed raised in the final match of the season for the past three years.
"I know that people are coming for me now," Robinson, who has a 26-2 record coming off a successful title defense at the prestigious Eastern States Tournament, said. "I figure that everyone on that mat is targeting me because it is my senior year and they want to be the one that knocks me off."
Robinson is coming off successful runs not only at Eastern States, but at the Peru Wrestling Tournament, where the hometown favorite scored his fifth title at the event.
"We have been going to a lot of good tournaments and there has been some great competition," Robinson said. "I am happy with the record so far."
Both Robinson and coach Mike Hogan said that the two losses for the season were the result of an injury that took place at a tournament, which hampered him in one match and forced him to forfeit another.
"I was really sick at the start of the season and I got hurt at one point," said Robinson. "I am starting to feel a lot better now."
That may be bad news for the rest of the state, as Robinson continues to use his speed and technique to record quick takedowns and falls. At Eastern states, Robinson dropped his opening round opponent, Mitchell Kamm of Pine Bush, in 25 seconds. He followed that up with a 23 second pin of Long Beach's Matt Gray.
In the quarters, Robinson scored a 7-3 victory against Shoreham's TJ Fabian, then scored a 4-1 win over Mark West of Hauppauge to advance to the finals, where he scored a 6-4 victory over Corey Rasheed of Longwood to take the title for the second straight year.
Robinson said that knowing everyone is gunning for him helps him train harder.
"I try to stay confident, but not too confident because I know that everyone is out for me," Robinson said. "I'll get the best match from everyone I wrestle."
Robinson said that the ultimate goal is to become the fifth four-time state champion, joining Jesse Jantzen of Shoreman - Wading River (1997-2000), J.P. O'Connor of Oxford(2003-06), Alex Ekstrom of Palmyra-Macedon (200-6-2009) and Troy Nickerson of Chenango Forks, the state's only five-time champion from 2001-2005.
Robinson first won the state championship in 2008, taking the 96-lbs. championship with a 8-1 decision against Dylan Kavanaugh of Vernon Verona out of Section III. In that meet, Robinson pinned then defending state champion Colton Dalberth of Marion in Section V 32 second into their semifinal meeting.
In 2009, Robinson moved up to 103-lbs., where he again defeated Dalberth, this time in the finals by a 4-0 decision to win his second state title. His toughest match was in the first round, where he beat Austin Keough of Warsaw in Section V by a 2-1 decision that drew plenty of attention from the Times Union Center crowd. Robinson then pinned every opponent on his way to the finals.
Last year, Robinson again jumped a weight class to 112, and again, met know senior Dalberth in the finals. This time, Robinson took a 9-2 decision to capture his third title.
Robinson again had to wrestle to keep his three-peat hopes alive early, as Tom Page out of Section VI Eden took him to overtime before Robinson recorded a takedown for a 6-4 victory.
"Not a lot of people have done that, win four titles," Robinson said. "I think that would be pretty big to go out like that for my senior year."