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Shania Collins could feel it creeping through her body.

As she prepared to compete in the 200-meter dash on March 16, it was readily apparent that she was not on the track at Huntingtown High School, or even at Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex where she competed all winter.

No, it was the New Balance Nationals at The Armory in New York City. And Collins was nervous.

But the Huntingtown senior didn’t feel the nerves for long, settling in shortly before her race and eventually captured the national championship in front of an array of fans.

Collins crossed the finish line with a blazing time of 23.82 seconds, which was a personal best for the sprinter in her first-ever trip to New York in her life.

With mother Towanda Collins in attendance, it made the national feat even more special.

“I was definitely nervous because it was my first time running indoor nationals,” said Collins, who also placed fourth overall in the 60 meters, her first time ever running that event. “It was a lot of fast people out there, but I just kept calm and executed. My mom said that one of the best moments that she’s had in her life.”

Collins recently led the Huntingtown girls team to Class 3A state indoor track and field title during the winter and claimed individual state crowns in the 55 and 300. She is eager to continue the special journey as a leader on the outdoor track and field team this spring.

The first-team All-SMAC and All-County selection from last season, will be defending her 200 state title from a year ago and is hungry for a state crown in the 100 after finishing runner-up last season.

While having a successful outdoor season last year and a coming off a hot indoor season, Collins feels that will set the tone for outdoor.

“Winning nationals really does give me confidence I’m not going to lie,” she said. “At the same time, it gives me a little fear because it makes me a huge target and people want to beat me.”

After breakout seasons in outdoor as a junior and recently indoors, Collins has landed many NCAA Division I interests from around the country, but has narrowed it down to Texas A&M in the Southeastern Conference and University of Texas at Austin in the Big 12 conference to continue her track career.

Collins went on her official visit to Texas at Austin earlier in the week.

“She’s been a phenomenal athlete since freshman year and has really grown each year,” Huntingtown head coach Valerie Harrington said. “Coming into her senior year, she really has set high goals for herself.”

Collins success has come thanks in part to the rigorous training with the Glenarden club track team, coached by Joe Lee, also the head coach of track and field program at the Bullis School in Montgomery County.

“Running and training with those caliber of girls at Glenarden really helped,” Harrington said. “Coach Lee really worked on her running form and technique. Competing at that level helped her motivation and built her confidence entering her senior year.”

While having a strong indoor campaign, Collins and the Huntingtown girls are striving for outdoor state gold where it won it all in 2011.

Along with Collins, seniors Collin McKenny, on the boys team, and Amber Logan tasted indoor state gold.

“Our girls team can definitely go far, we want to peak in May,” Collins said on the expectations for both teams for outdoor. “I think our boys team is really going to do well. Everyone just seems really excited and we’ve had athletes that have had success in the program before. So they are looking forward to being apart of it again.”

ajmason@somdnews.com