FHSAA T&F State Championship: Day One Rundown

Caitlin Collier's run for the ages!


Moments after hearing her time of 2:02.77 announced over the PA speakers by Doug Loftus, Bolles senior Caitlin Collier, put her face in her hands and shook her head in disbelief. "I sort of looked and when I finished and said 'that felt hard.' I didn't know what time I ran. I thought I ran a 2:05 or 2:04. Then when he said 2:02, I said 'Holy crap!'," she said after a short stint in the medical tent to catch her breath.

Bolles Coach Matthew Morris has written Collier's workouts this season and wasn't surprised. "Our early season goal was to hit that 2:02 range and she will go to a bunch of meets during this summer where she can go as low as she can. But 2:02 is what we wanted and it's good to check it off the list and now we are looking at how low we can go," he lamented. "She will doubt it sometimes in herself, but once she has race days like this, she realizes that she can run with anyone she wants to run with. She's a tremendous athlete.

"Collier's spectacular performance may not have happened had it not been for Cocoa's Jatana Folston. Folston, a transfer from Ransom Everglades in Miami, sprinted out to a huge lead hitting the 400 meters in an announced time of 58 seconds. Her fast early pace drew the field out putting Collier behind three to four runners early on. It was expected, but still it left Collier thinking. "I knew Jatana was going to take it out. I know she's very talented. She has better top end leg speed than I do. So I was a little bit nervous. It's not every day that someone is in front of me on the first lap. I just sort of stuck my eyes on her and pulled myself through the second lap and let the hammer drop."

And hammer she did. Collier eased her way to the front and on the backstretch powered past Folston immediately opening a gap. As she sped past the 600 meter mark, she bore down even harder.

"I had no clue what time we were running because the clock wasn't on.  I think that's a good thing because it stresses me out some times. I just wanted to catch up to her and let it loose," said Collier whose previous best was 2:03.32 set June 1, 2017 at the Festival of Miles. "I'm glad I got a good time. I didn't think it could be that good so I'm really excited.  I wanted to PR for sure. I was little nervous. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to but I'm glad I did. I really wanted that PR.  I'm really glad I ended up getting that."

Morris had tailored Colliers workouts to face any type of race scenario and had his star ready. "In practice we throw all kinds of workouts at her. We have workouts where she is alone and doing that and then we have some workouts and find somewhere where she is behind boys in a race or something like that where she has to go and chase people so she's ready for all this," he said. In Folston, he had the perfect set up for Collier to execute the training. "We've raced her a couple of times so we knew she takes it out fast. Good for her that she takes it out fast and runs good times. She usually helps pull Caitlin through so having her in that race was something we were looking forward to so we knew it would get Caitlin out that first lap."

Collier's injury shortened cross country season is behind her and there looks to be plenty of opportunity for her to make more attempts at lowering her time in the post season. Saturday, she will also have a chance at the 1600 meter run state meet record time of 4:48.90 set by Jenny Barringer (nee Simpson) of Oviedo in 2005.

"I was really glad to hear that time. It's just a really good way to open up the state meet to give me some confidence for the last few races I have" she said.

Added Coach Morris, "The injuries are behind her. In cross, she hit the pool. She was in the pool for so long. She's tired of the pool. This season, she's just had a cold once here or there or a couple of blisters on her feet, but all injuries, she's ready to go. She's looking for a great summer and a great final season."

By the numbers
2:02.77 is the 14th fastest performance in high school history.

She is the ninth fastest performer of all time. Mary Cain, Kim Gallagher, Sammy Watson, Ajee Wilson, Chanelle Price, Amy Weisenbach, Mary Decker and Robin Campbell have all run faster.

Time was a national leader.
Time set a state meet record erasing her 2:06.74 set last year.