Iyanla Kollock ran four phenomenal 55-meter dashes in February that secured her selection as The Press High School Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the year.
“I like the intensity of track,” Kollock said in a phone interview. “Things are always changing. Anything can happen in a split second. It’s so unpredictable, but that’s what makes it so much fun.”
The 5-foot-1 junior at Our Lady of Mercy Academy in Newfield won the state Non-Public B title Feb. 18, running the 55 in 7.19 seconds. Kollock followed that with a second-place finish Feb. 26 in the state Meet of Champions. Her time was 7 seconds flat.
Both meets took place at the John Bennett Indoor Sports Complex in Toms River.
But the 16-year-old Buena Vista Township resident didn’t limit her exploits to New Jersey. Twice during February, she made the journey to The Armory Track & Field Center in New York to run on the national stage.
On Feb. 11, Kollock ran the 55 in 7.18 to finish fourth in the high school girls division at the prestigious Millrose Games. On Feb. 28, Kollock finished in 7.04 to claim third place at the Eastern States Championships.
“It was a tremendous experience to be in New York,” Kollock said. “The Millrose Games were televised, and running in those two meets was different than anything I’ve ever done before. It was a great atmosphere to be there with the girls. Everyone was very nice.”
Lawrence Hickman, Kollock’s coach at OLMA, has noticed significant growth in her career.
“I was very surprised, because when I first started coaching her, she was a cheerleader with no track experience,” Hickman said in a phone interview. “She’s come a long way. A lot of this is new to her, but she’s very keen, very smart.”
Hickman said the next phase of Kollock’s learning curve will be running the 400 meters outdoors this spring for the Villagers.
“She has so much ability” he said “We’re really just scratching the surface with her. Once she understands what running the 400 meters is all about, that’s going to take her to a whole other level.
“She has physical strength, and she has natural quickness and speed. She just has to get that endurance up and develop the mindset that she’s not going to be beaten. To tell you the truth, she could probably go 56 or 57 seconds in the 400 right now.”
Kollock stays sharp by working with trainer Joe Shelton on the track at Timber Creek Regional High School in Sicklerville on the weekends. She also sticks to a regimen at Anytime Fitness in Sicklerville three days a week.
Now that she’s had a taste of success on the national level, Kollock is starting to let images of competing in college and even the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo creep into her head.
“I’ve given a lot of thought about 2020,” she said. “It’s a possibility. I just have to train a lot and be physically and mentally ready. My family and friends keep me grounded.”
But even if Kollock doesn’t reach such lofty heights, Hickman knows she’s got a bright future ahead.
“As a coach, we tell them there’s more than running on that oval out there,” he said. “We try to prepare them for all things life. Iyanla gets it.”