Prep time

Thunder Bay’s Christiana Collins practices at the LU Hangar last year. Collins is preparing to make the move to the United States to study biological sciences and compete in track and field.

Christiana Collins has sped and leapt her way to a spot on a U.S. college team.

The Thunder Bay student committed to study at North Dakota State University while competing as a sprinter and long jumper for the varsity track and field team.

“Next year, I look forward to competing as a collegiate athlete in the NCAA with NDSU. In the (U.S.), it will be a higher level of competition and I hope to continue to strive for improvement as an athlete while receiving an undergraduate degree,” she said.

Collins, 17, is a member of both the Lakehead Track and Field Club and the St. Patrick Saints high school team. Despite only training and taking part in track for three years, Collins was a finalist at the OFSAA provincials in the 200-metre event and won two medals in the long jump over that span.

“It’s been an honour coaching Christie over the past three years. Rarely do you find athletes that has both the physical and mental abilities to compete at an elite level, but Christie has exhibited both during her time here,” Lakehead club coach Joe McDonough said.

Collins has been thankful for her time learning the nuances of her sport.

“When I joined the Lakehead Track and Field team in the 10th grade, I knew very little about running or jumping,” she recalled. “Over the years, my coaches Joe and Kyle have been the best teachers, support systems, and mentors I could ask for as an athlete. I have been able to push myself mentally and physically, bettering myself as an athlete and as a person under their coaching. Through successes, failures, injuries, illnesses, I have learned to be resilient in adversity, and the meaning of true self-discipline. I believe this sport has had a monumental significance on my growth as a person.”

Collins is also a former Team Ontario junior member. She was ranked in the top-10 in four different events (60, 200, 300 and long jump) among all Canadian female athletes in the under-18 division. She also earned a berth at the New Balance Indoor Nationals competition in New York City, which is widely considered the most competitive high school track meet in North America.

Her personal bests are: 7.78 seconds in the 60, 25.20 seconds in the 200, 41.38 seconds in the 300 and 5.65 metres in the long jump.

However, last spring and summer were devoid of competitions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Collins plans to study biological sciences at North Dakota State in the fall.

“I am enthusiastic about the new opportunities at NDSU and am really looking forward to meeting my new teammates and coaches who will allow me to challenge myself further,” she said.