His goal is to take home a gold medal at states in May.
You could say Sarasota High senior Ke’Andre Collins is fast, but that wouldn’t quite cover it.
You could say the boys track and field star is athletic, but that doesn’t encompass his skills, either. The best way to prove his prowess is by telling you what he has done. Collins is the school record holder in the 200-meter dash (21.94), set March 23 at the UNF Pre-State High School Meet in Jacksonville. He is the record holder in the 300-meter hurdles (38.27), set at the same meet. And he has tied for the school record in the 100-meter dash (10.75) — twice, first on Feb. 23 at the Berkeley Track and Field Invitational in Tampa, then at the UNF meet.
Collins is a versatile track and field star, something he did not anticipate when he joined the team as a freshman. He only joined to stay in shape for football, after all, and maybe gain some speed. On the gridiron, Collins plays defensive back, wide receiver and returns kickoffs. The years of track and field training paid off. Last fall, according to MaxPreps, Collins led the state in kickoff return yards with 668. Collins said he grew up idolizing Desean Jackson, the Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver who is known for big plays in the return game at crucial times.
Collins’ theory might have worked in reverse, too: Running with football pads is more difficult, Collins said. Carrying that weight — and hitting the weight room with first-year football coach Spencer Hodges — helped push Collins’ speed and stamina even higher.
This track season, when he started getting close to the school records, he began striving for them.
“It has been crazy,” Collins said. “I never meant to break them (when I started) but it is cool to have my name in the history books.”
He’s not done, either. Despite the record-setting times, only the 300-meter hurdles time actually won Collins the race. By the time the state championship meet comes around — May 3-4 in Jacksonville — Collins wants to walk away with some gold medals. Collins said he looks up his competition’s times before each race so he knows what times to set as a goal. The state meet will occur on the same track as the pre-state meet where he set most of his personal best times. Collins believes that fact, plus the adrenaline of going against the best of the best, will allow him to do it again.
Ironically, a lot of Collins’ off-field hobbies involve slowing down.
He loves to go fishing, especially off Ringling Bridge. He throws the football around with his twin 14-year-old brothers, Kanye and Kie’yon. He does not run much outside of team practices, he said, instead hitting the weight room. But when the lights come on, there is nowhere Collins would rather be. His favorite event is the 100-meter dash because all eyes are on that race. It is when people run the fastest, and Collins likes proving he belongs in elite company.
“I’m real ready for states,” Collins said. “I’m going to make my push and hopefully finish in first.”