Lauren Collins
UCI track & field star Lauren Collins appears on cover of 'Runner's World.'

Lauren Collins ’10, UC Irvine high jump and heptathlon record-holder and winner of the Alumni Association’s 2010 Lauds & Laurels Award for outstanding student-athlete, hit a new high as cover model for the July issue of Runner’s World.

The magazine acknowledged her accomplishments, saying: “Collins’ peak training regimen included intervals, hills, plyometrics, tempo runs, core work and weight lifting. ‘All the hard work that’s invested can be frustrating and painful,’ says the Newport Beach resident, ‘but finally seeing your times drop is pretty hard to beat.’”

Like many young girls, Collins had wanted to be an Olympic gymnast. With her parents’ full support, she dedicated herself to this goal, training rigorously with the best coaches five days a week.

Then, in high school, everything changed. She grew in height – 6 inches her freshman year – ultimately reaching 6 feet. Far too tall for gymnastics, Collins didn’t outgrow her Olympic dreams; she simply exchanged her leotards for track spikes.

“Lauren likes to take on challenges,” says Vince O’Boyle, UCI’s track & field coach for the past 28 years. “She has the talent and work ethic to go beyond college and be Olympic caliber. I hope she gives it a shot.”

Collins is taking time off from track & field competitions to heal a stress fracture, but keeps busy with sports and fitness modeling, and stays in shape with cross training and light workouts.

She is also track director at Olympic Academy, a nonprofit sports camp that provides mentoring and training for young student athletes in Orange County. The organization recently held a charitable sports camp in Santa Ana. Genai Kerr, UCI alumnus and U.S. Olympian, founded the academy.

“If things go well, I hope to compete in track & field meets next year,” Collins says. “I just plan to pick up where I left off for the love of the sport.”