Monroe High School senior Reneazia Collins has done it all in her track career as a Redhawk.
She’s helped lead Monroe to two consecutive outdoor track state championships – and a possible third this season – a second-place team finish in last year’s indoor season and topped it off with another Class 2A indoor runner-up team this season.
But her individual accomplishments – both in the winter season and in the spring – even exceed the impressive team accolades.
At last year’s 2013 1A/2A Indoor Track State Championships, Collins grabbed a first-place finish in the 300-meter dash (finishing in 40.56 seconds), a second-place finish in the 55 (7.27), and took fifth in the 55-meter hurdles (8.71) all while leading the 4×400 relay team to a state championship (4 minutes, 13.75 seconds).
Collins could’ve altogether skipped her senior season and still would’ve graduated as one of Monroe’s most decorated athletes. But instead, she chose to make her senior indoor season one for the books.
Collins opted to run the 500 this year, and her first-place finish was nothing short of dominating – she grabbed the gold running in 1.19.09 and bested the second-place finisher by nearly two seconds. In the 55, Collins didn’t settle for another second-place finish, instead running 7.24 seconds to finish first. In the 55 hurdles, she improved from fifth last year to place second this year (8.44).
With a stellar performance in each of her events, the North Carolina A&T commit is the 2014 Union County Weekly Indoor Track and Field Runner of the Year.
“I’m really proud of my individual accomplishments but I think the best part has been being part of a two-time state title winning team,” Collins said. “Most people consider me the leader of the championship team, which is a big honor.”
With all that she’s accomplished, it seems Collins’ success could be boiled down to just natural talent – and part of that’s true. But her journey to becoming one of Union County’s most dominating sprinters hasn’t been easy. Apart from dedicating the last four years to running and training every day after school and on Saturdays, Collins has had to battle through asthma.
“I didn’t find out I had asthma until the fifth grade,” Collins said. “It definitely affects me. While I’m running it’s usually fine but at practice it really bothers me. I have to sit down a lot and at meets I struggle to catch my breath after the races.”
Collins has an inhaler which helps prevent any oncoming attacks but sometimes after she’s spent all her energy running at a record-breaking speed, the attacks are unavoidable.
“I’m learning more and more how to control it,” she said. “It’s been hard but I haven’t let it stop me from doing what I love.”
With the indoor season wrapped up, Collins is sprinting toward another state championship-worthy season on the outdoor track. At the Butler home meet on Feb. 27, Collins took first place in the 100 (12.74), 200 (25.94), the 4×100 relay (53.50) and the 4×200 relay
“It’s been overwhelming,” Collins said of her accomplishments on the track at Monroe. “I always knew I could run but I never thought I’d be as successful as I am now and this early in my career. Some people don’t win individual state titles until their senior year. I got started early on and it’s been a huge blessing.”