Sterling, VA (September 15, 2016) – Potomac Falls’ senior Justin Robles has commit to play baseball for Norfolk State University beginning the 2017/2018 academic school year.
“My recruiting experience was a fun, but stressful process shared Robles. It was fun talking to a handful of schools about playing baseball for them, but it became stressful as they turned to other players. Although my grades were good, I began to worry that they weren’t where they needed to be as a reason why.”
“Since making the decision to commit to Norfolk State, it’s as if a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. It’s a great feeling to know I am both going to college, and to a school that really wanted me.”
Norfolk State University (NSU) is a public four-year, coed, liberal arts, historically black university located in Norfolk, Virginia. The university is a member-school of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the Virginia High-Tech Partnership. Currently, Norfolk State offers two doctorate and 15 master’s degrees, including master’s degree programs in Electronic Engineering, Computer Science, and Criminal Justice. The school also offers 36 undergraduate degrees, and the only bachelor’s degree in Optical Engineering in Virginia.
“Making the decision to commit to NSU was a big stepping stone for me because it would determine where I would spend the next four years of my life and shape my future. I selected NSU because of location, the atmosphere at the school, my respect for the baseball players and coaching staff, and how much scholarship money they offered.”
Robles’ head baseball coach will be Claudel Clark. Coach Clark is in his 12th season as head coach of the Norfolk State University baseball program. After serving as interim head coach for two seasons, Clark was named to the permanent post in the summer of 2006. In the summer of 2015, Clark also added to his duties the title of assistant athletics director for external affairs.
Clark presided over one of NSU’s best seasons in recent memory in 2015. The Spartans won their first-ever MEAC Northern Division regular-season title en route to a Division I-era record 27 victories. The Spartans also reeled off a 13-game winning streak during the second half of the season, the longest in the school’s Division I history, and finished with a 19-5 record against their MEAC Northern Division opponents. In addition to their success within the MEAC, NSU also recorded its first-ever win over Richmond and first victory since 1977 over VCU, who went on to advance to the NCAA Super Regionals. Clark was rewarded for that success by winning the 2015 MEAC Coach of the Year award.
Clark has also led NSU to four MEAC Tournament championship round appearances in his tenure (2005, ’08, ’11 and ‘14). The Spartans have recorded 218 wins over his last 10 seasons as head coach. In addition, Spartan players have earned 39 All-MEAC honors and two Louisville Slugger Freshmen All-American honors during Clark’s tenure.
“Going into my first year at NSU, my expectations are to outwork someone to become a starting outfielder, said Robles. I would like be an excellent student athlete by having a record breaking freshman year, along with excelling in the classroom.”
Robles wore the #21 jersey as a junior, and will do so for his senior campaign. He was happy to finally get that number because it was the same jersey worn by Pirates outfielder Roberto Clemente, a ball player that has inspired him to play the game. In 1973, Clemente became the first Latin American and Caribbean player to be enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
A 2014 VHSL 5A All-State, 2014 and 2015 All-Conference, and 2-time All-Loudoun Baseball Team selection, Robles has played organized baseball since the age of 7, but has been playing with his dad since 4. When asked about one of his favorite memories around the baseball diamond, Justin shared, “One of my favorite memories in high school thus far occurred during my freshman year. I was in the gym after tryouts and got called into the coaches’ office. All the coaches were there when they informed me that I made the Varsity team. That was a special moment for me because it was a testament of all the hard work I had put in.”
“As this baseball thing has been a long and exciting ride, I would like to thank my parents for all of their support, because I couldn’t have done it without them. They have made everything possible for me, and made this whole baseball and recruiting experience as great as possible.”
“I’d also like to thank my Rawlings C5T Elite coach Eric Crozier for pushing me to my fullest in every aspect of the game. I am also thankful for my high school coaches Joe Terango and Barry Sweger for giving me the opportunity to play 4 years of varsity baseball, and helping me develop as a player.”
Asked what advice he’d share with other pursuing their dream, Robles shared, “To anyone pursuing a dream of playing collegiate sports, I would say to make sure your grades are up, and never slack. Make sure that when you’re on the field, don’t ever give your coaches a reason to talk down on you or scratch you off their list.”
Please join us in wishing Justin Robles the very best on the baseball diamond, and in the classroom as he pursues a Criminal Justice degree from Norfolk State University.