North Texas Daily

Senior Collin Heard setting sights high in final season with Mean Green track

Senior Collin Heard setting sights high in final season with Mean Green track

Collin Heard crouches down in runners stance as he poses for the picture. Kaitlyn St. Clair

Senior Collin Heard setting sights high in final season with Mean Green track
February 07
19:54 2017

Sports have always been a focal point in the Heard household.

With a brother that played football at Midwestern State University and another that walked on at North Texas, senior sprinter Collin Heard is no stranger to competition. The Heard family is also no stranger to UNT. Heard’s mother, father, brothers and aunts all are UNT alumni.

“I’ve always been surrounded by athletics,” Heard said. “[My family] has pushed me to be better than what I am.”

Coming out of Bishop Dunne High School, Heard was a three-time all state athlete, lettering in both track and football. Originally, Heard was courted by the North Texas football team, but ultimately, he chose to pursue a career in track.

“When he came here, I was really excited about the opportunity because he’s one of the fastest athletes out of high school that I had recruited,” head coach Carl Sheffield said. “For me to actually recruit and have him come here was an exciting opportunity.”

As a team captain, Heard has made tremendous strides in his final year of collegiate eligibility. He had a strong start to this season, notching a second place finish in the 200-meter dash at the Aggie Invitational with a time of 21.37 seconds.

“It’s very exciting being a teammate of Collin’s,” sophomore sprinter James Cole said. “He’s very energetic, aspiring and a good leader.”

In his last year, Heard has one particular goal on his mind — advancing to the finals of the NCAA meet. Heard finished the 2016 season with a career-best time of 20.51 seconds in the 200-meter dash in the West Prelims, but was just two spots shy of reaching the finals.

The loss, while painful, gave Heard motivation to put in countless hours in the offseason in hopes of advancing this year.

“I’m definitely doing the small things right,” Heard said. “I executed well on the track. Now it’s time to make sure I do all the [small] things off the track like getting good sleep, eating well and just making great decisions.”

Although Heard faces immense pressure this season, he still reminds himself that as one of the few seniors on the team, it’s his job to set an example so when his time is done, North Texas can still succeed.

“I want to leave an impact on the team to where they’ll be better off without me,” Heard said. “They have a lot of great young guys that are going to be really good, so I just want to influence them now and push them to be the best.”

Heard’s teammates have the same goal in mind and are striving to meet his standards.

“It’s just pretty much having someone to model myself after,” Cole said. “I try to be like him and just stride to what he’s accomplished.”

As for his coach, Sheffield believes when it’s all said and done, Heard has a chance to be one of the most decorated sprinters the Mean Green have seen.

“I think if this year goes well, athletically he will go down as one of the best sprinters at this university,” Sheffield said. “He has tremendous talent and has grown to be a fantastic young man with a tremendous future ahead of him. I hope he can put up the numbers and solidify his place in North Texas history.”

And although a championship would be nice, Heard wants to be remembered for more than just what he has done on the track.

“I want to be remembered as a positive leader and a good friend,” Heard said. “I want people to know as both a student and athlete, how much I care about my friends, family, track and UNT.”

Featured Image: Collin Heard crouches down in runners stance as he poses for the picture. Kaitlyn St. Clair

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North Texas Daily

North Texas Daily

The North Texas Daily is the official student newspaper of the University of North Texas, proudly serving UNT and the Denton community since 1916.

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