Sports

Mahoney ’18 finishes eighth place in Beantown meet

Veteran leads team to fourth-place finish behind top-30 teams Syracuse, Indiana, Illinois

By
Senior Staff Writer
Thursday, September 28, 2017

Mahoney’s 8K time of 24 minutes, 28 seconds placed him eighth out in Friday’s Coast-to-Coast Battle in Beantown. Bruno finished fourth overall.

Following its season opener at the Columbia Invitational in New York Sept. 8, the men’s cross country team traveled to Boston to participate in the Coast-to-Coast Battle in Beantown hosted by Boston College Friday. Bruno finished fourth overall with 117 points, trailing only No. 3 Syracuse, No. 27 Illinois and No. 21 Indiana. Veteran Matt Mahoney ’18 delivered a standout performance, placing eighth individually out of 157 runners with a time of 24 minutes, 28 seconds on the eight-kilometer course.

For Mahoney, the turf at Franklin Park was familiar — he finished fourth in the same event last season. His career with the Bears has been highlighted by a second-place finish  and personal record time of 24 minites, 23.9 seconds in the 8K at the New England Inter-Collegiate Amateur Athletics Association Championship in 2016. Mahoney took the 3,000-meter crown in the 2015 Brown Springtime Open after competing in the Ivy Championships in his rookie season.

For his outstanding performance in Boston, Mahoney has been named The Herald’s Athlete of the Week.

Herald: You placed highly at the Battle in Beantown last weekend. What was that race like for you?

Mahoney: It was a pretty deep race — there were three ranked teams in the race, so my goal going in was just to stay with the top pack. I was kind of expecting the Syracuse guys to hang back for the first three miles or so and then really start picking up pace in the last couple miles and that pretty much happened. I was able to respond to that surge later in the race pretty well and passed a few guys in the last mile to get into the top ten.

What were your expectations going into this season?

We have a lot of seniors this year on the team who are running well and who are pretty fit, so the expectations were high coming in. We’re trying to place highly in the Ivy League meet, and we’re also shooting to try to make the (National Collegiate Athletic Association) meet. That’s been a goal and Friday was just a big confidence booster. We were 11 points away from beating Indiana, who was ranked 21st in the country at the time, and we were missing one of the guys in our top five — he had an academic commitment, so without him we were that close. It’s just a pretty big confidence builder, and it reaffirms that the training is going well.

When did you first get into running?

I didn’t really start getting serious about running probably until ninth or 10th grade. I had done a little bit of running before that but nothing too serious.

Did you play any other sports growing up?

Yeah, I played soccer and baseball growing up.

You have competed in multiple distance events. Do you have a favorite distance to run?

I like cross country races most probably — in college they’re either eight kilometers, which is pretty much five miles, and then the NCAA meets regionally and nationally are 10K. I’d say cross country races are probably my favorite, and, on the track, I’d say my favorite race is the 5K.

Do you have a favorite meet day breakfast or meal?

Not really, I know a lot of people have a go-to meal and they eat it a certain amount of time before the race. But I don’t really have that — I try to eat something light and try to not eat like three hours before the meets.

Do you have any pre-race rituals or things you do to get in the zone? Are you superstitious at all?

No, I’m not superstitious. We do the same thing before every race with the warmup routine. We do the same stretches and the same drills; we always go for a 20-minute warmup run before that, so that’s all the same. But outside of that, I’m not really superstitious. I don’t have any weird quirks or anything else I do before the race.

Do you like to listen to music when you work out? What do you like to listen to?

One of the good things about being on a college team is that there are always guys to run with, so I don’t really listen to music that much because (I’m) mostly running with other people.

Do you feel that you have developed as a runner in your time at Brown?

Yeah, I have. I’ve physically matured a lot with the training — three years ago to right now I’m a much better runner. … The mental part, the psychological part of running, I’m a lot tougher. … That’s a big part of running that when you’re only in high school you don’t really realize. (With) these long races, there’s a big mental aspect that you can cultivate and grow, (and) being part of this program I’ve been able to do that. I’ve also run personal bests in pretty much every distance here; I’ve beaten guys that beat me in high school pretty routinely. The race on Friday — Syracuse is the number three ranked team in the country, and they held out their best runner, but I broke up their top five; I beat some of their scores. I wasn’t expecting to be at that level coming out of high school, but it’s been exciting.

The Bears return to action Oct. 13 to host their annual home meet, the Rothenberg Cross Country Invitational, at Goddard Memorial State Park in Warwick. This interview was edited for length and clarity.