by Frank Aceto
Associate Sports Editor
After a long season that included two trips to the state meet, it would have made perfect sense for Hudson junior distance runner Kyle Mau to take a well-deserved break.
Not yet. There is still much work to be done.
Mau concluded a successful spring season after placing sixth in the 1,600-meter race at the Division I state track and field meet, which concluded June 8 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
Mau ran a time of 4 minutes, 13.19 seconds. Westerville North senior Jacob Dumford won the race with a stadium-record time of 4:08.21.
Mau, who also placed 23rd at the 2012 Division I state cross country meet, didn't rest on his laurels.
He has been training to run the 1-mile race for the New Balance Nationals, which is scheduled to take place June 16 at Greensboro, N.C. Mau said his race will begin at either 2:25 or 4:55 p.m. depending on which heat he is scheduled to run.
"It involves the entire nation, so it's a huge meet," Mau said. "Right now, my time is ranked 50th in the nation. I just barely made it.
"I'm not worried about place. I'm more focused on my time. I want to run a 4:10."
Mau wasn't satisfied with his place at the state meet. He was the third Northeast Ohio Conference runner to cross the finish line. Solon junior Kevin Blank took third (4:10.86) and Twinsburg junior Garrett Crichlow placed fourth (4:11.3).
"I was disappointed with the way I ran," Mau admitted. "I followed the game plan, which was to run the third lap hard, but I didn't take it hard enough. I didn't have any gas left."
Late in the race, Mau did a little bit of soul searching. He noticed his hopes of reaching the top eight and earning a trip to the podium were slipping away.
And that's when Mau suddenly found an extra gear.
"In the last 10 meters, I passed two people," Mau said. "I just wanted to make the podium. I wasn't going to allow myself to not make the podium."
Hudson first-year head coach Dave Caplin felt his star pupil did what he needed to do.
"Kyle made a brave attempt," he said. "He took the lead in the third lap. Kyle went out at a good pace. He was out of contention for a medal going into the last lap. The entire field was very fast."
Mau, who has been dealing with a back injury, believes the state meet was a valuable learning experience. With that being said, he can't wait until next season.
"I got some experience and it was good motivation for next year," Mau said. "I hope to win states in cross."
Because of the back injury, Mau said he will most likely focus on the 3,200-meter race next spring. His teammate, Brandon White, reached the Austintown Fitch regional meet in the 3,200.
"I'm looking forward to running the 3,200 next year," Mau said. "I'm proud of the decision I made to run the 1,600 this year. Brandon White broke 10 minutes and he made it to regionals for the first time. I know I made the right choice."
Caplin believes the sky is the limit for his talented distance runner. And Caplin has enjoyed every second he has spent with him.
"Kyle is a great kid and a solid student," he said. "He is really dedicated to track and running. He's a student of the sport. He's a tremendous young man and a coach's dream. It has been a pleasure to have the chance to work with him. We're incredibly optimistic about his future."