The odds have been stacked against Terron Robinson.

The Whitman senior lost both parents and a brother to cancer by the time he was 14. One of his brothers has been to prison. One is still there.

Yet Robinson has found a way to overcome those odds. Since ninth grade, he’s been building a wrestling career — he is the defending 220-pound state champion after going 44-1 last season — while earning respect from his peers.

“There are people out there that still think I’m going to do bad like my brothers did,” Robinson said. “They see I’m separated from my family and they think I don’t have anyone to tell me to chill out. But I do.”

Robinson has his teammates and their families; he lives with one of them. He also has his brothers.

Terron Robinson Photo Credit: James Escher

“They taught me not to do what they do. Stay out of trouble, do good in school. ‘You don’t want to be me,’ ” Robinson said. “I listen to them. That’s why I’m a wrestler now and why I’m good now.”

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Robinson has other people in his corner, including Whitman wrestling coach Vin Altebrando, who has become more than a teacher.

“I found out about his home situation . . . and I did what any coach would do. I took him under my wing,” Altebrando said. “Today I’m like his in-school father.”

Vougar Oroudjov also is part of Robinson’s support system. The two-time Russian Olympian and bronze medalist at Barcelona in 1992 is owner of Vougar’s Honors Wrestling Club in Syosset and is Robinson’s trainer.

“He’s a great kid with family issues, but I help him and he understands and he appreciates it,” Oroudjov said. “[Coaches] work to help kids because one day the kids will help others. I want him to become a good man.”

Robinson is well on his way.

As a freshman, he weighed about 245 pounds but wrestled at 285 and just missed earning an All-County spot. He cut weight for his junior year and won the state title.

“You saw that it was going to be a special season,” Altebrando said. “Nobody would have thought he’d be a state champion. No one saw that coming.”

This season is getting even better. After the Eastern States Classic, Robinson is 25-1, losing to Glenn’s Damien Caffery, 7-6.

The loss ignited Robinson’s drive, especially as league championships approach and the promise of state championships await.

“I already started training harder as soon as I lost,” Robinson said. “He’ll come back in counties and I’ll be prepared this time.”

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“That was a good loss,” Oroudjov said. “He came back to practice the next day and he knows it’s all about the state title. I tell him life’s not easy. You are going to make it through. No excuses.”

He isn’t making any as he prepares for the long term. Robinson wants to wrestle at Nassau CC and continue working with Oroudjov for the next two years, then transfer to the University of Oklahoma. From there, Robinson sees the Olympics in his future, maybe MMA, but ultimately success.

“Life is too quick. I try to live it up. It’s my senior year and I’m going to finish what I have to do,” Robinson said. “Make them proud up there and just live happily.”