Peninsula High junior Ian Collins had never beat Auburn Riverside senior Deshea Blanchard.
So when Collins ran 11.45 seconds in the 100-meter race last week in a meet at Roy Anderson Field — beating Blanchard by about a step (11.47) to take first place in the event — he was thrilled to finally get over the hump.
“After the race we shook hands and I was like, ‘I finally beat you,’” Collins said.
Blanchard — who was not happy, to say the least — didn’t say much. He might have been blindsided. Collins never ran faster than an 11.54 during his entire sophomore season. So now, in one of the first meets of the season, Collins is already setting personal records?
Never miss a local story.
I just think it’s the progression of getting older and more mature.
Ian Collins, Peninsula sprinter
“Honestly, I have no idea (how it’s happening),” Collins said. “I just think it’s the progression of getting older and more mature.”
There hasn’t been any epiphanies or magic tricks for Collins, who also plays wide receiver and defensive end on the football team — just hard work. In the offseason, Collins borrowed a starting block from coach Curtiss Hall so he could work on getting faster starts.
Collins hopes his work during the track season will translate to the football field, where he’s hoping to stay healthy and enjoy a breakout year as a senior. He battled a shoulder injury during his junior season, which kept him out of action.
Collins is also part of a promising 4x100 relay team, along with junior Deboreae McClain, junior Ken Easton and junior Roger Kaffer. The group recorded a 45.97 finish against Auburn Riverside — just short of the winning mark of 45.30.
We had all the great guys last year. I believe we can — we just have to get the hand-offs down.
“I’m hoping we can beat our personal record (44.63) from last year,” Collins said. “We had all the great guys last year. I believe we can — we just have to get the hand-offs down.”
Ian isn’t the only promising Collins on the team. His younger sister, Anna, a freshman, is already one of the team’s best shot put and discus throwers. Brad Collins, his father and a science teacher at Peninsula High, is the team’s shot put coach. And Ian and Anna’s mother, Louanne, was a high jumper in high school.
Suffice it to say, there’s some track genes in the family.
Other athletes to watch for Peninsula are senior Chandler Rogers and junior Justin Grosshans in the 800, sophomore Cameron Wenman and senior Dominic Lauer in the 1,600 and senior Keegan Council in the 3,200.
On the girls side, junior Amanda Wikramanayake in the 800, sophomores Audrey Lauer, Grace Haugen and senior Emma Jones in the 1,600 and senior Madison Martinez and junior Katelyn Brown in the shot put.