Travis Mahoney leads the way at the Penn State Invitational.
Senior distance runner Travis Mahoney has been pacing himself during the winter season, and before his mile race at the Penn State National Open on Jan. 28, he had a 4-minuteand-11-second-mile time to his credit.
That all changed when Mahoney ran a blistering 4:02.40 mile, in a heat that had three runners run sub-four minute miles. Mahoney took sixth in the meet and shattered the Temple school record of 4:05, set by George Steinbronn in 1982.
“Going in, I didn’t have a game plan and I wasn’t even thinking about the school record,” Mahoney said. “I just hopped in the race and tried to stay with the pack all the way through, and [the other runners] took me through that race.”
“The fact that 4:02 got sixth in that race is just ridiculous,” Mahoney added. “The competition was unbelievable.”
Not only did he best the school record, but Mahoney also met the Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America qualifying standards with his time.
The Old Bridge, N.J. native is setting his sights on another milestone.
“Now I’m definitely looking to break four minutes, and even possibly trying to make the NCAA Indoor Championship meet,” Mahoney said. “We’re adjusting as we go along here, and of course running that 4:02 has caused us to adjust our approach, and now I’m looking at breaking four minutes.”
While track is largely considered an individual sport, Mahoney attributes his improvement in the mile event to racing with his teammates in practice.
“Guys have different strengths and weaknesses in practice, which is a good thing,” Mahoney said. “As a team, we all try to push it, especially when we’re running distances that we aren’t as good at and it helps us become solid all the way around. Everyone plays off of each other and becomes a more solid overall runner, which then brings results in the meets.”
Although Mahoney is focusing on improving as a runner, he is also trying to enjoy his last two track seasons at Temple.
“I’ve been pacing myself this season,” Mahoney said. “It’s taken some time, but I feel that I’m getting back into my old rhythm and I feel it’s been a good start so far.”
“I’ve been trying to stay relaxed and not doing too much of anything,” Mahoney added. “I only have two more seasons of track left here, and I’m going to try to enjoy them as much as I can.”
Drew Parent can be reached at email@example.com.