A lot can be said for the strength of underclassmen in the men’s track program.
Especially after freshman Craig Mauldin posted a Mid-American Conference championship qualifying mark in the second meet of the season.
Mauldin finished second in the triple jump with a career-best leap of 14.30m (46.11.00). This was one of three qualifying marks hit Friday night at the CMU Open, but the only done by a freshman.
“I didn’t even know I qualified for a while,” Mauldin said. “I was just focused on running my race, but it felt pretty good when I found out. I’m trying to have a big impact my first year.”
Coming back strong, after a long winter break, was difficult for many of the athletes competing Friday night; however, Mauldin put the work in to stay on top of his game. The California native spent time in his hometown Murrieta training with old high school teammates, including one who is now a runner at Eastern Michigan University.
This has only been the second competition Mauldin has participated in the young season. With the championship meet a vely, tlong ways down the road, don’t expect Mauldin to stay satisfied with his current progress.
He is dedicated to continue to improve over the season one meet at a time.
“I just want to keep getting better marks every week and hopefully make it to the NCAA championship,” he said. “My goals for this season are to place top three at MAC and qualify for the NCAA meet.”
Mauldin is one of many young Chippewas who have begun to step into the spotlight this season and take on some of the responsibility.
“We only have about six seniors, so the fact that you see a lot of underclassmen doing many solid things, its speaks a lot of the growth of this program,” said director of track and field Willie Randolph.
This opportunity is eagerly accepted by Mauldin and the other young CMU athletes. He has a strong desire to fulfill a leadership role on the team and help them reach their goals this season.
“I think it’s looking very good right now,” Mauldin said. “We’re going to have a strong team in the future.”
He may continue his success next week at the University of Michigan competing at the Simmons-Harvey Invitational.