Collins Hill grad Winslow eying NCAA national title

Special Photo Collins Hill grad Amanda Winslow runs for Florida State in the NCAA indoor track and field championships in March in Fayetteville, Ark.

Special Photo Collins Hill grad Amanda Winslow runs for Florida State in the NCAA indoor track and field championships in March in Fayetteville, Ark.

Amanda Winslow was one of the state's most decorated runners in high school.

That hasn't changed in college for the 2009 Collins Hill grad.

Now a senior at Florida State, Winslow has put together an impressive college resume. She's helped the Seminoles become one of the nation's top cross country programs, has earned All-American honors and has been a conference champion.

The only thing missing from Winslow's impressive list of accomplishments is a national title. She can change that in the next two weeks. Winslow will compete in the East Preliminary outdoor track and field championship this weekend, where she's expected to qualify for the NCAA championship in Eugene, Ore.

"It's always been one of my goals and dreams to do what I've done, but I've been surprised by some things," Winslow said.

Winslow has the third-fastest time in the nation in the 1,500-meter run this season with a time of 4 minutes, 10.79 seconds. She will battle Oklahoma State's Natalja Piliusina and Florida's Cory McGee for the national title.

"I've beaten them sometimes and they've beaten me," Winslow said. "Yeah, it's definitely my goal. I have to have the right day."

Winslow had a decorated prep career at Collins Hill. She was a two-time state champion in cross country and won four titles in track, while helping the Eagles to a pair of cross country team titles and two in track. She still holds the state record in the 1,600-meter run and has the state's second-fastest time in the 3,200. Winslow was also a member of state record relay teams in the 3,200 relay, 6,400 relay and distance medley relay.

She still keeps in touch with some of her teammates from Collins Hill like Villanova's Nicky Akande, who she has raced, Georgia's Allyson McGinty and former FSU teammate Jackie Drouin. Collins Hill coach Andrew Hudson has even come to watch some of Winslow's meets.

"It just show how awesome it was at Collins Hill," Winslow said. "It's nice to have that support."

Her success has continued at Florida State. Winslow broke into the lineup on the Seminoles' cross country team as a freshman and placed 33rd to earn All-American honors and help the team to a runner-up finish.

As a junior, she was co-captain of the team, was runner-up in the ACC and won the South Region title. She took All-American honors again with a 34th-place finish at nationals. FSU won the ACC and South Regional championships that year and took fourth in the nation.

"I think every year I've surprised myself," Winslow said.

But Winslow's strength has been on the track.

She placed fifth in the nation in the mile at the indoor championships last year after winning the ACC title.

She also won the ACC crown in the 3,000 meters and qualified for nationals.

"It's always been my goal to be at the top," Winslow said.

At the NCAA indoor championships, she was second in the mile, setting a new ACC record with a time of 4:31.08. It's one of the 10 fastest miles in college history.

"I think of myself more of a track runner (than cross country)," Winslow said. "I feel a lot more comfortable on the track in the mile and 1,500. That's my strength."

Winslow has also been a standout in the classroom, making the dean's list every semester. She's been selected to the all All-ACC academic team in cross country and track every semester. With a 3.79 GPA, she plans to graduate in August with a degree in sports management.

"Most of my life will not be running, it will be my career." Winslow said. "I've had to learn that balance."

Winslow doesn't plan to give up competitive running after college. She has qualified for the USA championships in June where she's trying to earn a spot in the World Championships. A successful run could be her ticket to signing with a professional track club, which could mean traveling the world running races.

"It's pretty exciting because I've never been out of the U.S.," Winslow said. "I'll see where running takes me."