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High Schools | THE TIMES' GIRLS' TRACK AND FIELD ATHLETE
OF YEAR

Even as a Sophomore, Collins a Quick Study

June 28, 2005|Eric Sondheimer | Times Staff Writer

If Ebony Collins were on a stage, fans would be tossing her roses and begging for an encore.

What the sophomore sprinter from Long Beach Wilson accomplished this month at the state track and field championships in Sacramento will be long remembered as one of the best individual performances by a female athlete in state history.

She won four gold medals and ran national bests in three events.

Her winning time of 40.10 seconds in the 300 hurdles was the second-fastest ever and a national sophomore record. She also won the 100 meters and ran legs on the winning 400 and 1,600 relay teams.

"It's like an adrenaline rush," Collins said. "The better I did, the more confident I got, and the crowd was intense."

For her performance, Collins has been chosen The Times' girls' track and field athlete of the year.

"I was amazed at the accomplishment, especially the 300 hurdles," Coach Terry Kennedy said.

Two weeks earlier, Collins won the 100 meters and 300 hurdles while finishing second in the 200 meters and 100 hurdles at the Southern Section championships.

At both meets, she helped lead Wilson to team titles.

Her hurdles coach, Shannon Fisher, came to Wilson just when Collins was checking in as a freshman.

"Talk about stumbling upon a pot of gold," Fisher said. "If she stays healthy, she can do anything."

The 5-foot-6 Collins has the combination of speed and endurance to compete in a variety of events. Wilson coaches intend to let her continue to experiment.

"She could probably long jump," Fisher said. "She could probably triple jump. She could probably high jump. Colleges will narrow her down to a specific event."

For now, the 300 hurdles appears to be her signature race, allowing her to show her speed and athleticism.

Collins' success has increased expectations and scrutiny.

"I feel more people are watching me now, so I have to make sure I do what I'm supposed to do in class and in track," she said.

Collins will compete at the World Youth Championships next month in Morocco.

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THE TIMES' ALL-STAR

GIRLS' TRACK AND FIELD TEAM

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