Many college athletes were heartbroken with the cancellation of spring sports earlier in the year due to COVID-19. This rings true for Northwest track and field runners Hiba Mahgoub and Tyrell Maddox.
Both fifth-year seniors, the two athletes had their hopes dashed when the NCAA Division II championships in Birmingham, Alabama, March 13-14 were canceled. The cancellation stings even more considering both Mahgoub and Maddox are unable to run indoor track this year. However, their chance at glory can come later during the outdoor season.
“The season being canceled at nationals last year has motivated me to go harder,” Maddox said. “I feel as though now I have to go take everything they took from last year and finish this season with a bang”
“When it got cancelled, I was upset. I was able to overcome it though,” Mahgoub said. “I wanted more, and I'm really motivated to run and compete at a high level.”
Maddox started his collegiate track career at Army West Point but decided to transfer to Northwest last season.
“My decision to transfer was based on a fresh start. I felt like there was no room for me to grow at my previous school,” Maddox said. “I ultimately chose Northwest because the coaches did a good job working with me and ensuring that things would work out the way I wanted them to.”
Maddox had a successful senior year on the track, being named a USTFCCCA All-American in the 4x400-meter relay, an event that he was set to run in at the NCAA championships.
Alongside Maddox, the relay team consisted of Caelon Harkey, Omar Austin and Abdelrahim Mahgoub. They broke the school record with a time of 3 minutes, 10 seconds and 96 milliseconds, a program record and the third fastest in the country.
Maddox received all-region honors in three events and found success in the 400-meter run, finishing first at the MIAA championships.
“My experience at Northwest has been good and productive,” Maddox said. “Through the track team and various organizations, I have made lots of friends.”
Mahgoub has also found her own share of success during her Northwest career.
Mahgoub was named an USTFCCCA All-American in three events last season, while receiving all-region honors in two.
She broke two school records throughout the season, running at 54.36 in the 400-meter dash, which was also the fastest in the country at the time. She set the program record in the 200-meter dash with a time of 23.89.
Mahgoub’s efforts helped make the women's track and field team the fifth best in the USTFCCCA National Index. She also excelled in the classroom, earning All-Academic honors as a finance major.
“My experience has been good,” Mahgoub said. “I'm glad that the University has made it possible for all of us to be on campus and participate in our sports and hobbies.”
While both runners made major marks last season, they know it's no use dwelling on the past, as preparation begins for the future.
“I've spent my time preparing for the outdoor season,” Mahgoub said. “I am digging in at every practice, knowing I have more time to get the numbers I need and want.”
“With not being able to compete indoors, not much has changed with my schedule. I pretty much have a routine schedule,” Maddox said. “My preparation has been training hard, staying healthy and trying to lose weight.”
Track and field coach Brandon Masters has taken notice in his two stars, and expects them to continue to improve. Masters was impressed with Maddox after one year in the program.
“You never know what you're going to get with transfers, especially older athletes. He fit in great, and became a leader,” Masters said. “He bought into the program, and wanted to be coached.”
“He had the opportunity to put up some personal bests, and that's a nice feeling for me that he was able to run fast here,” Masters said.
Masters also recognized Mahgoub's big breakout season.
“When I got here I told her what I expected of her. After seeing several weeks of practice, we just scratched the surface of what she was able to do,” Masters said. “The difference with Hiba is that she bought in, and decided to bring a level of intensity to practice.”
“I expected her to have a breakout season,” Masters said. “I think she had the chance to win a national title.”
With such good seasons, Masters knows that his two stars will have high expectations.
“Tyrell has big goals, and this allows him to focus on just two outdoor meets, conference and nationals outdoor,” Masters said. “Hiba’s numbers are way better than last year at this point, and I feel like she is pushing herself on a daily basis.”
Maddox and Mahgoub have high individual expectations, but they also believe the team can do special things in the coming months.
“This team is going to be noticed by the NCAA, MIAA and the school because we have so much talent, and can compete at the levels we need to be noticed,” Mahgoub said. “This team will mean more to the school now, and I am excited for that.”
“For the team, I believe we can win it all with the talent we have,” Maddox said.