Track and field: Collins' stay with the elite
Husband and wife Billy and Stephanie Collins love to run. They also have received some impressive awards and broke a few records along the way.
Stephanie, 52, just won a Bronze Medal in the 400-meter and Gold Medal in the 4x100 Sprint Relay in the recently completed 2011 National Senior Games.
"I almost got second (in the 400 meters)," said Stephanie. "I didn't see her (the other runner) on the outside. She anchored the 4-by-1 relay."
Billy, 60, didn't compete in the Senior Games because of a recent illness, but in 2006 the IAAF/WMA honored him as the Male Athlete of The World
In four Master's Men's age categories (40-44, 45-49, 50-54, and 55-59) Collins has broken or currently holds American and World Records in the 100, 200, and 400 meters.
The northwest Houston athlete is originally from Mt. Vernon, New York. Before graduating from high school in 1970, he had 262 scholarship offers before choosing Texas Christian University. He was four times New York State Champion in the 100 and 200, which are still state records. He was High School All American for three years.
At TCU he was a three time conference champion, breaking school records in the 100, 200 and 400 meter relay.
"I had a fantastic time there learning from coach Guy Shaw Thompson who became like a father to me," said Collins.
"When I got there the track program wasn't what it is today. I wanted to go to a small school where I could help build a program."
Collins also played football for the Horned Frogs for one year as a wide receiver, but the coach would not let him back on the team the next year.
"He told me my running talents were too great. That was when the team wasn't that good. If I continued in football the chances of me getting hurt were too great," Collins said.
In 1976 he made the relay team for the Olympics, but pulled a muscle in the finals of the 100 meter.
"I had to give my spot to Johnny Lam Jones of the University of Texas," he said.
After graduation from TCU, Collins said all of his friends were saying move to Houston because the money was growing on trees.
"When I first came to Houston I opened a sporting goods store in the Village, Hurricane Sports," he said. However the desire to work directly in training athletes pushed him into starting ACALA Sports Training Systems. ACALA stands for the first names of his children: Alicia, Christopher, Arté, Lavon and Aviante. He is also a volunteer assistant track coach for Rice University.
ACALA trains athletes in different sports such as track & field, football, basketball, baseball, tennis, soccer and volleyball.
"Everything in sports is based on speed," said Collins. "We have taken normal track and conditioning programs and reconfigured them to fit all sports. We have a lot of baseball players come to us. Toller Boardman, a pitcher at Bellaire High School, is an example. We were able to increase his fast ball from 83 to 95 mph."
Collins is also president and founder of the Houston Elite track team in which his wife Stephanie is a team member.
"I could possibly qualify for the indoors nationals this year, if not then it will be the outdoors again," said Stephanie.
"I am going to have a good fall season."
And with the Male Athlete of the World on her side, who would bet against her?
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