Fairleigh Dickinson University middle-distance runner Keyana Hynds ran her first race at the tender age of 6 at the Edenwald Community Center in the Bronx. From there, she joined the Bronx International Express Track Club and ran at A. Philip Randolph High School.

“I was really active and naturally competitive,” said Hynds. Sports also taught her valuable life lessons. “I always had to make sure to manage my time and stay focused.”

While in high school, Hynds was spotted by coaches at a PSAL meet and recruited by Fairleigh Dickinson. Knights coach Sharlene Milwood-Lee was impressed with athletes who had worked with Bronx International Express coach Mohamed Fofanah.

“Everyone who comes from him, they give 100 percent,” Milwood-Lee said. “We saw Keyana was a hard worker. She’s a talented middle-distance runner, which was something that fit what we were looking for.”

Midway through her sophomore year, Hynds is taking things one meet a time. She sees herself improving. “I’ve definitely learned how to run smarter in college. I definitely have gained a lot of strength,” she said. For indoor season, which resumes Jan. 6, Hynds runs 800m, 1,000m, the mile and 3,000m. She said the mile is her favorite because it is a “balance of ease and strength.”

She said being an FDU Knight is a huge part of her college experience. “The team is basically my family, where I get to show my school spirit,” she said.

Milwood-Lee said the track team has a good sense of unity and purpose. “Everyone’s personal goals come together to make our team a lot better,” she said. Upper-class students set standards for themselves, and the rest of the team strives to match that. As Hynds approaches upper-class level, she’s becoming stronger and preparing to be one of the standard-bearers.

“Keyana’s stepping up as one of the team leaders,” Milwood-Lee said. “We’re excited about what she has to offer the team and what she’s going to do this year. “We’d like to see her drop some of her times in her events,” she added. “We just want her to improve and be a conference scorer. The same for outdoor season. We’re looking to improve times and places in our conference championships this year.”

Fairleigh Dickinson competes in the Northeast Conference. The indoor championships are Feb. 11 and 12.