Reneazia Collins remembers when she fell in love with running and racing. Collins, then in fourth grade, discovered her passion for competing on the track at the skating rink.I used to go skating and we would have footraces (without skates), and I wanted to win every time, Collins said. I would always win those races; and that was when I really knew how much I loved running and trying to be the fastest person in any competition.Fast forward to her junior year, Reneazia (pronounced Ren-Asia), who turns 17 on Feb. 21, proved to be one of the fastest women in the state at the N.C. 1A/2A/3A state indoor meet earlier this month in Winston-Salem.Reneazia won a state title in the 300-meter dash with a personal-record time of 40.56 seconds. Then she finished as state runner-up in the 55-meter dash (7.27, also a personal record) and fifth in the 55-meter hurdles (8.71).She added that to her already-impressive resume, which includes a 1A state title in the 400-meter and 100-meter hurdles in outdoor track last year. She also was a state runner-up in the 200-meter dash as a sophomore.Every time I run, it means a lot to me and Im thinking about being as fast as I can, Collins said. But to show I can do it against 2A and 3A runners says even more. It never gets old winning state championships. But Ive got to move on and focus on the next season.Reneazia had only a few days off after her wins. The indoor meet was Feb. 9, and practice for outdoor track started Feb. 13.The goal is always to keep moving, said Nichole Jackson the coach at Monroe High. Reneazia proved she has serious talent by beating and competing with 2A and 3A girls. But shes not going to rest on her accomplishments. She is always looking to be even better.While some people focus on their competition, Collins is usually focused on her times. The time she thinks about most right now is her state championship 400-meter run last spring (57.41), when she took the 1A title as a sophomore, but missed out on the 12-year-old meet record by .01 of a second.I really think about my times more than place, Collins said, noting if she runs her goal times, she will most often win races. But that 400-meter time was so close to the state record, and I really want to break it this year. Of course, I hope that means I can also win a state championship again, too.While championships might seem to come easy for Collins, she thinks about running constantly.Collins says her focus and routine start with breathing, then picturing herself getting off to a strong start and running swiftly until she crosses the finish with a win in her planned time.Even the night before a track meet, I am already picturing myself running, Collins said. A lot of times, I usually dont sleep much, because Im constantly running through the races in my head.Reneazia also enjoys cheering for her Monroe High classmates, literally. Shes a cheerleader for both the Redhawks football and basketball teams.But with basketball coming to a close, her full attention will be on the track.I only get four years to do this at Monroe, she said. So I dont take anything for granted. This is my time.While Reneazias focus is at Monroe High for now, she hopes to one day compete on the college level and maybe even the Olympics.My dream has always been to run in the Olympics, she said. I know I am a long way away from that right now. But that is still my ultimate goal.Reneazia said she is motivated by her coaches, teammates and friends, and family who are always on her mind, even at a big meet.I think a lot of people expect a lot out of me on the track, Collins said, alluding to winning championships. I dont just do this for myself. I do it for all the other people that it means a lot to, too.
Monday, Feb. 18, 2013
Monroe junior runners goal is to be the fastest
Sprinter Reneazia Collins fell in love with running and racing in fourth grade. Now a junior at Monroe, Collins has won numerous titles. COURTESY OF NICHOLE JACKSON