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Collins Hill track more than just a Georgia power

SUWANEE - Collins Hill has dominated the girls track and field scene for most of the decade.

The Eagles have won the last eight Gwinnett County titles, seven region titles in a row and are the three-time defending Class AAAAA state champions.

That alone is an impressive resume. But this season Collins Hill has upped the ante. The Eagles have shown they have some of the top athletes in the nation.

"Every year we have the same goals of defending our titles," Collins Hill coach Andrew Hudson said. "I guess this year with this very special group of seniors we have, we just wanted to look for a little bit more."

Seniors Amanda Winslow, Allyson McGinty and Symone Glover led the way for the Eagles' impressive regular season campaign.

Collins Hill has had 11 milesplit.com first team elite marks this season and nine marks ranked in the top 25 nationally to qualify for Nike Nationals on June 18-20 in Greensboro, N.C. They have five times that rank in the top 10 nationally as of last week and four in the top five. They set three marks that were No. 1 in the nation at one point in the season and they set two Gwinnett County and Georgia all-time bests.

"You just keep trying to get better and better," McGinty said. "You put one foot in front of the other and keep moving up and up and I guess it's led us to the national level."

The Collins Hill program has always had its sights set on winning county, region and state titles. It wasn't until last summer that they began to realize they could be successful on the national level. The Eagles qualified for Nike Nationals in the 3,200 relay and placed third to earn All-American honors.

"It was an eye opener," said Winslow, who took fourth in the mile at Nike Nationals. "It was like 'Wow, what if we had planned for this all along.' So definitely this year all of us and all of our coaches have been thinking about it and we're looking all the way till June."

Collins Hill has traveled around the Southeast, competing in some of the top meets this year. Nicky Akande took second in the 1,600 at the Mobile Challenge in Alabama with a time of 5 minutes, 1.65 seconds to earn U.S. first team elite status.

Winslow earned first team U.S. elite status in the 800 and 1,600 with times of 2:14.88 and 4:56.83, respectively. The Florida State signee's time of 10:45.06 in the 3,200 was the U.S. No. 1 Nike National qualifying mark.

"It's definitely an honor," Winslow said of her times. "It's kind of surprising. Going back to freshman year, I never really would have thought that."

The 1,600 relay team of Glover, Akande, Sydney Williams and Carmen Garcia has qualified for Nike Nationals after taking second at the Mobile Challenge with a time of 3:51.71.

Glover, Bria Young, Williams and Akande also qualified for nationals in the sprint relay with a time of 4:09.5.

The 3,200 relay team of Glover, Williams, and Vicky and Amanda Winslow are ranked No. 6 in the nation after winning the Mountain Brook, Ala., title. Young, Garcia, Williams and Glover are also highly ranked at No. 5 in the 800 medley relay with a time of 1:46.48.

"I'm very proud of what we've done and I'm glad we got this far because we do work hard," Glover said.

But it's the distance medley relay team and the 6,400 relay that are the most decorated, setting school, Gwinnett County and Georgia all-time best records. The distance medley relay team of Akande, Williams, Vicky and Amanda Winslow ran a time of 11:59.44, which is ranked third nationally. The 6,400 relay of McGinty, Akande and Vicky and Amanda Winslow are ranked second in the U.S. with a time of 21:01.45.

"I think it's an unprecedented group of accomplishments," Hudson said. "I don't think anybody has had a regular season like that, where they've set so many records and qualified for nationals in so many events and just run that fast. It's just incredible to think that every meet they are running a national caliber mark. It's just very exciting."

Before Collins Hill can look ahead to the national stage in June, it still has some other goals to accomplish. There's the Region 7-AAAAA meet on Monday and the state meet in Albany on May 14-16. After all, Collins Hill has an in-state reputation to uphold.

"What they've accomplished so far and what they can accomplish this summer are tremendous things in themselves," Hudson said. "Obviously, we want to win region and state, but I think we all understand how difficult that is going to be."

SideBar: Eagles' Talent

The Collins Hill girls track and field team has had an impressive regular season. The Eagles have won four meets, had 11 milesplit.com U.S. first team elite marks, had nine marks qualify for Nike Nationals, three times earn No. 1 status in the nation and set two Gwinnett County and Georgia all-time bests

Here's a look at the Eagles' standout sprinters and distance runners:

Name, Grade, Events

Amanda Winslow, Sr., 800, 1,600 and 3,200

· 3,200 time of 10:45.06 is U.S. No. 1 and Nike National qualifying mark

· The Florida State signee is a member of three relay teams that are ranked in the top 10 in the nation

· Distance medley relay and 6,400 relay teams set Gwinnett County and Georgia all-time best marks with times of 11:59.44 and 21:01.45, respectively

Symone Glover, Sr., 100, 200, 400 and relays

· The Howard University signee is a member of 1,600 relay team than ran 3:51.71 to qualify for Nike Nationals

· Member of 800 medley relay that is a Nike National qualifier with a time of 1:46.48 and ranked No. 5 in U.S.

Allyson McGinty, Sr., 1,600 and 3,200

· University of Georgia signee is a member of 6,400 relay team, which ran a time of 21:01.45. The mark is a Gwinnett County record and a Georgia all-time best. It's also No. 2 in the U.S. and a Nike National qualifying mark

Nicky Akande, Jr., 800 and 1,600

· Member of 1,600 relay team than ran 3:51.71 to qualify for Nike Nationals

· Member of four relay teams that are ranked in the top 25 in the nation

· Member of 3,200 relay team that ran 9:21.96 to earn Nike National qualifying mark and ranked No. 6 in U.S.

· Distance medley and 6,400 relay team are ranked No. 3 and No. 2, respectively, nationally

Vicky Winslow, Soph., 800, 1,600 and 3,200

· Member of 3,200 relay team that ran 9:21.96 to earn Nike National qualifying mark and ranked No. 6 in U.S.

· Distance medley and 6,400 relay team are ranked No. 3 and No. 2, respectively, nationally and are Georgia all-time best times

Bria Young, Soph., 100 and 200

· Member of sprint medley relay that is ranked No. 22 in U.S. with a time of 4:09.5 and is a Nike National qualifying mark

· Member of 800 medley relay that is a Nike National qualifier with a time of 1:46.48 and ranked No. 5 in U.S.

Carmen Garcia, Soph., 200 and 400

· Member of 1,600 relay team that qualified for Nike Nationals

· Member of 800 medley relay that is a Nike National qualifier with a time of 1:46.48 and ranked No. 5 in U.S.

Sydney Williams, Soph., 200, 400, 800 and relays

· Member of 1,600 relay team than ran 3:51.71 to qualify for Nike Nationals

· Member four relay teams there ranked in the top 25 in the nation, including distance medley relay (No. 3), 800 medley relay (No. 5) and 3,200 relay (No. 6)