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Interval Session #94 - Ashley Collier

By Dave Devine - January 29, 2009

Talk about stepping from the shadows onto the main stage. 

Even as a sophomore last year, Fort Worth Dunbar TX sprinter Ashley Collier was hardly in the shadows, ranking in the top 10 nationally in the 100 and top 5 in the 200, but teammate Victoria Jordan was US#1 in the 100 with a blazing 11.16 PR and an appearance in the US Olympic Trials.  Together, the sophomore and the senior also helped propel the #1-ranked 4x100 and 4x200 relays in the country, but Jordan understandably received much of the attention.  Now that she's graduated, it's Collier's turn to shine. 

The latest Lonestar speedster was a finalist in the both the 100 and the 200 at last summer's USATF Junior Nationals, finishing 8th and 6th respectively, but in the opening month of this indoor season she's come on like gangbusters.  Her 24.22 at the Arkansas Invitational on January 10th is US#1 in that event, while her list-leading 7.54 60 dash time from Arkansas was topped a week later by her own 7.52 at the Carl Lewis Invitational on January 17th.  With plans to run at the Simplot Games in February and to hit the Nationals in March, Collier has lofty goals and a firm focus on the future.

DyeStat senior editor Dave Devine laces up the spikes for some high-speed repeats with this season's sprint sensation.
1) Your indoor season is off to a great start, with US-leading performances at the Arkansas and Carl Lewis Invitationals.  How are you feeling about the way things have gone so far, and are you pleased with the times you've run?  Are they pretty much what you expected at this point in the year?
I'm very pleased about how the beginning of my season has been going so far, and I'm glad that I've been very consistent with my times.

2) Last year you ran some amazing times, and still ended up in the shadow of your own teammate, senior Victoria Jordan.  Can you talk about what you learned as a sophomore running with such a talented senior, and how it feels now to step into the role of top runner on your team, and simultaneously one of the best in the country?
I learned as a sophomore that I really have to step up my game more and just always perform my best when I step on the track. It feels good to be one of the best, and hopefully things will get even better for me throughout the season.

3) I know you compete for Fort Worth Dunbar during the school year and Dallas Gold Track Club for out-of-season meets.  How is it, training and competing for those two teams?  Are the workouts and approaches to training more or less the same, or are there some obvious differences?  Can you talk about the coaching and support you receive?

The training from both coaches is really great. They both help me with my endurance, speed, my running form, and becoming stronger throughout my workouts. Their support for me grows more and more everyday, and I'm really thankful for both of them.

4) Every year, it seems Texas is loaded with sprint talent, and last year was no exception.  From your perspective, what makes the girls from Texas, in particular, so good at the sprints?  Is it by-and-large good weather for training year-round?  Exposure to great coaching?  Expectations from watching those who came before you (like Victoria) excel and do well on the national stage?  Can you identify a few things that you think help make the girls from Texas (boys too) great in HS track and field?

The great weather in Texas has a big impact; it allows us to train year round, along with great coaches. Also, with a lot of us being talented and competing against one another, it pushes us to improve.

5) Which phases of your races do you think are your best, and which parts are your still working on?  Is there a distance you prefer, between the 60-100-200-400?  And when you have a perfect race, how does it feel?  What things do you notice going right?
Well, my finish is getting a lot better, but I'm still working on coming out of the blocks. There's not a specific race I prefer.  I enjoy running the 60, 100, 200 and the 400 because each race prepares for the next one. I used to be really nervous about running the 400, but I've grown into it, and it helps my 200 time a lot. Honestly, I don't think I've had a perfect race yet, but it does feel good to know that I'm making progress and having more confidence within myself.

6) How did you first get your start in track and field?  Were you involved in age-group running before you arrived at the high school level, or did you first hit your stride as a ninth grader at Dunbar?  Are there particular role models in the sport of track and field (or sports in general) that you admire and hope to be like someday?
I started running track in the 7th grade, but I fell in love with track after I joined my first club team and made it to the Junior Olympics, the summer before 9th grade. I really admire Sanya Richards. She's a great athlete and has accomplished a lot throughout her track career.

7) When you aren't focused on running fast, what other things are you involved in, either at school or outside of school?  Are there passions besides track you pursue, or things we'd find you doing once the last race of the season has been run?

I focus on track so much, but besides running all the time, I focus on my education, which is very important to me. I also spend a lot of time with my family, who have been very supportive of me and who I love dearly.


Photos: Jason Brown (Carl Lewis Invitational: 60m dash (top) and 4x400 relay).

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