SPRING ALL-AREA: Collins named LCR's Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year
She can do it all.
From the 200-meter dash to the triple jump, Asherah Collins continues to prove she's one of the best young athletes, not just at Columbia but throughout the state.
This past season the rising junior reached the Class 3A state finals and placed fifth in the triple jump (11.20 meters). Collins qualified for state for the first time this year after an impressive runner-up performance at the Region 1-3A meet and a District 3-3A title.
For her exceptional campaign and vast improvement during the season, Collins has been named the Lake City Reporter's Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year.
"It was pretty exciting going to (state),” she said.
"The atmosphere was really good. I was just a little nervous because of all the competition."
Her nerves, however, didn't stop her from placing, coming just 0.5 meters of fourth place in the triple jump. The District 3-3A champ has come a long way in one year.
After starting track and field in fifth grade under the tutelage of Lake City Middle School coach April Morse, Collins’ passion for the sport only continued to grow. She was later introduced to AAU coach Travis Sheppard, who runs the Athletics Academy travel team based out of Gainesville. Collins joined the squad in sixth grade and continues to compete for the team with Sheppard as her coach.
Collins was well prepared before she even arrived to Columbia's program last year.
"She's a natural athlete," Columbia coach Audre Ruise-Washington said. "Not only can she excel in track and field but I believe if she played basketball or volleyball she would be the same way. She loves athletics. Her growth has just been phenomenal. And if it was up to her, she'd probably run just about every event at a local meet. She was the top runner in the 100m and 200m in several of our meets. She's also a hurdler and a great triple jumper."
Most high school athletes have taken a break with school out for summer, but not Collins. She spent the last month competing in a few different events, including the Atlanta International Relays, where she placed first in the triple jump (39 feet).
Her personal-best was the longest jump by any sophomore girl across the state, according to flrunners.com. The lone female who competed at state for Columbia this past year has plenty of potential with two more years left before graduation.
"She's going to be phenomenal athlete at Columbia," Ruise-Washington said. "She medaled in the top 10 this year but I'd like to see her (next year) go back to state and at least get top five. And that's not even a high goal for her."
Collins injured her knee recently so she'll take some time to heal, she says. She may wait until fall to get back to training, but that's OK, she won't be away for long.
Collins is bent on securing a track and field athletics scholarship.
"I'm just trying to get faster on my 100m time, as well as jumping, so I have multiple things that I am really good at. And I want to get my (triple) jump into the 40s. Coach said if I get into the higher 40s, I'll get a scholarship so we're working on that."
Placed third in the 800m (2:37.82) and 1600m (6:17.93) at the District 5-2A meet to qualify for regionals in both events. Also ran the 200m at districts, placing sixth (28.14).
Placed third in the 300m hurdles at the District 5-2A meet to qualify for regionals (51.08). Also ran the 100m and 4x400 relay at districts, placing sixth in both events.
One of Columbia’s top female runners, just missing out on qualifying for regionals. She placed fifth in the 400m (1:01.20) and also ran the 200m at the District 3-3A meet.
One of the better field athletes in the county, placing third in the shot put (9.37m) at the District 3-3A meet to qualify for regionals. Went on to to finish 15th (8.44) in Region 1-3A.
— All-area capsules written by sports writer Jordan Kroeger