Before senior thrower Ryan McCullough could make a name for himself at the track and field NCAA championships, he had to first fight through the mental distractions that bore down on him during the season.
After successfully finding the right mindset, McCullough earned second-team All-American honors in the hammer throw at the NCAA championships in Des Moines, Iowa.
“I was dealing with some outside distractions and couldn’t totally focus on my season,” he said. “I was really proud. I took pride in myself on being mentally tough.”
McCullough placed 13th nationally, throwing 206 feet and two inches to become the first CMU All-American in the hammer throw.
It was a life-long goal for McCullough to earn All-American status, but, even then, he still wasn’t satisfied with his performance.
“I still want more,” McCullough said. “My ultimate goal was to be an All-American … I just feel like I could have placed a little higher.”
Director of track and field Willie Randolph was pleased with how McCullough was able to end his senior season.
“It was a great thing for him to go out there and do some really solid things,” Randolph said. “We are very proud of him for the way he represented our track and field program.”
McCullough intends to keep training to qualify for the Olympic trials. After his throwing career is over, McCullough has an interest in coaching field events.
Freshman Milica Kulidzan also represented CMU in the javelin throw, just one of six freshmen to compete nationally. Kulidzan finished 23rd, saving her best throw for last: 140 feet, 8 inches.
Although Randolph and Kulidzan were hoping for better results, Randolph said he was pleased with the freshman’s performance.
“Well, we are very pleased with how they competed,” Randolph said. “Unfortunately, Milica wasn’t able to have the best meet of the year, but she competed and for a freshman (competing) in that environment for the first time ever, it was solid for her to get that experience.”
Randolph expects Kulidzan to become a leader next year.
“Anytime you have an athlete reach the championship level, that puts them on the leader pedestal,” Randolph said. “I think Milica and Bridgett Doughty will represent not only the women’s program but the overall program at a very high level.”