Northwest track and field opened the season with a rather impressive showing at the Mel Tjeersdma Classic Dec. 6-7 at Hughes Fieldhouse. The Bearcats look to continue that success in the “Cornhusker State” as they travel to the Graduate Classic meet at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Jan. 16-17.
The men’s and women’s teams took home many first-place finishes and the women even eclipsed a couple of program records via Hiba Mahgoub. The senior sprinter set program records in both the 200-meter and 400-meter dash, both of which were good enough for first-place finishes.
Mahgoub, along with runners senior Jordan Hammond, freshman Tiffany Hughey and sophomore Addie Palser, secured a second-place finish in the women’s 4-x-400 relay, finishing with a provisional qualifying time of three minutes, 51 seconds and 44 milliseconds.
Mahgoub credits her early success to her summer training and workout program designed by coach Brandon Masters.
Senior Tyrell Maddox also made a huge contribution in his first meet, winning the 800-meter dash and being apart of the winning men’s 4-x-400-meter relay with teammates sophomore Omar Austin, junior Caleon Harkey and sophomore Abdelrahim Mahgoub.
Maddox, a transfer from Army-Westpoint, mirrored a thought process of NBA star Joel Embiid’s when realizing how he was successful.
“Trusting the process,” Maddox said.
Maddox also gave credit to Masters for his hot start.
“Coach has really done a good job at integrating me into this program and getting me up to speed and working on some things I was lacking at my old school,” Maddox said.
Masters is in his second year at the helm of the Northwest track and field program and expected a fast, but not technically sound, start to the year.
“We’ll be ‘pretty’ later,” Masters said. “I think as far as our technical aspect, we are fit and fast right now.”
Good marks were expected, Masters said, and was pleasantly surprised by some of the marks the men and women achieved at the meet.
Both Maddox and Mahgoub, along with a selective group of others, are traveling to compete in Lincoln, Nebraska, this weekend. The Graduate Classic, on paper, may represent a step up in competition for the Bearcats, but both Mahgoub and Maddox are unphased by the Division I competition.
“I don’t ever think of it as ‘Oh, my God they are DI, they are so much better than I am,”’ Mahgoub said. “I think we are right at that level.”
“Just got to keep my composure and do what I’ve been doing,” Maddox added.
Masters, of course, wants his athletes to continue their hot start at the Graduate Classic but also has another purpose for taking the team to Big Red country.
The purpose, Masters said, is to gain experience on a 200-bank track. The style of track, one unaccustomed to the program, mirrors the type of track in Birmingham, Alabama, where the runners compete should they advance to the national championships.
The reason for the smaller team, Masters said, is for the select few to get a feel for the difference in tracks.
“The people that are going are kids that we will probably see or have a chance to see in the national championship,” Masters said.
Overall, the end goal stated by Masters, Mahgoub and Maddox, is to be conference champions and attain national success. The Graduate Classic can help them get one step closer to those goals.