He wasn’t even scheduled to compete that weekend due to a season-ending hamstring injury, yet he was on the bus for the five-hour drive to Cornell University. Peter Collier didn’t have to be there, but he wanted to cheer on his teammates as they competed. Now, Collier is letting his results on the track do the cheering.
“The team aspect of track was always really important, watching everyone compete, fueling the drive and getting excited about competing again, seeing what I’m working towards in the end, it was always good to be around the team so I wouldn’t forget what I was coming back to,” Collier says.
Missing all of last season with a torn hamstring, Collier spent most of his time rehabbing and regaining his strength. And even when he was cleared to compete, mentally it wasn’t until his season debut at the Brockport Early Season Invitational in December where he really believed he was capable.
“At the first meet in Brockport, to go the way that it did, was a huge confidence builder because that’s where the initial hamstring injury happened and to go back and just prove, more so to myself that I’m fit, I’m ready, this will be a good season,” says the third-year University of Toronto mathematics major.
Since then, Collier is having a breakout year for the University of Toronto Varsity Blues track and field team. Winning the Cornell Upstate Challenge in January, the 2016 RBC Training Ground Eastern Canada winner would go on to compete in the heptathlon, 60-metre, and long jump, becoming a driving force for the Varsity Blues men’s team this season, en-route to their Ontario University Association (OUA) Championship team silver medal victory. He captured his first OUA gold medal in the men’s heptathlon with a total of 4,956 points.
Entering his first U Sports championships, Collier has history and second-hand experience on his side. Training with the 2018 U Sports champion in the heptathlon, Rostam Turner, allowed him to pick up on the work that needs to put in to get to the podium. The Varsity Blues also have produced quality combined events athletes over the years, both on the men’s and women’s side, from U Sports heptathlon record-holder James Turner, 2016 pentathlon silver medallist Danielle Delage, and Rostam Turner.
“Rostam was a great training partner,” Collier praising the two-time U Sports medallist. “He had an amazing work ethic and a lot of his strengths were my weaknesses so I was able to build on that and even just watching him through some of the events and feeding off what he can do, it was a lot of positives.”
In his second year of eligibility and third year with the team, Collier is now one of the leaders on and off the track. He’s seen the team change over the last few years and says it’s benefitting everyone from the veterans to the incoming recruits.
And it’s showing in the overall team results. He’s looking forward to U Sports this week and with everyone supporting one another, they can take it to their limits.
“All of the groups are getting a lot closer, the new recruits are really great so it’s been really easy to see everyone coming together as a whole unit rather than just in individual event groups,” Collier explains. “Everyone is always there cheering everyone on, doesn’t matter if we spoke once or if you’re best friends with the person, everyone is cheering as loud as they can for anyone wearing the UofT singlet.”