CHS graduate Austin Collins in his first season running for UO.

Junior Austin Collins recently opened his first season running for the University of Oregon with a third-place finish in the 800 meter, during the Oregon Preview at Hayward Field, in Eugene, PHOTO COURTESY OF UO ATHLETICS. - Austin Collins.

Collins, a graduate of Colton High School, finished the 800 with a time of 1:50.38, and took first among the collegiate runners. Ahead of him, in first and second, were Aaron Evans (1:49.24) and Patrick Casey (1:49.49). Both Evans and Casey are professional runners with the Nike Oregon Track Club.

Collins said it felt good to wear the UO jersey, especially as getting into that jersey has taken a lot of time and training.

As a high school senior, Collins won the Oregon state championships in both the 800 and 1,500 meters in 2011 and took second in the 400. He finished his high school career with three 3A titles and five runner-up finishes. He was also the high-point scorer at the state meet in both 2010 and 2011.

After graduating, Collins moved on to run for Clackamas Community College, where he broke the school’s record in the 800 and was crowned the NWAACC champion in the 800 in 2013.

Running at UO is a completely different experience though, Collins said. “I feel spoiled down here.”

“The facilities, coaching, the whole atmosphere [is different],” Collins said. “There’s a lot more pressure and expectations. It’s all about running fast and competing well.”

Collins’ major is general social science. He said he splits his time between running and studying. “It’s very time consuming,” he said. “Some practices are three and half hours a day … It’s like a part-time job with track, and another part time-job with school. It keeps you busy.”

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