CMU - Mays Preps For Second Consecutive NCAA Championships Trip
Provided by CMU
MOUNT PLEASANT – Senior thrower Kevin Mays will compete in the weight throw at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field National Championships hosted by Boise State beginning Friday in Nampa, Idaho.
The weight throw competition will take place Saturday afternoon at 6 p.m. EST. He will be in the second flight of throwers.
The Flint communication major has already had a very successful season by any measure. He claimed the school record in the weight throw with a mark of 71-11 at the Akron Invitational, a mark that vaulted him into the top four in the nation according to the Track and Field Results Reporting System.
"We are excited about Kevin earning an opportunity to compete at the NCAA championships," director of track and field and cross country Willie Randolph said. "He not only represents our program on the highest level as a student-athlete, but also as an outstanding young man who has dealt with adversity throughout his career and is deserving of all the success in the world. We are proud of him and know that no matter what, he is a champion to us."
Now ranked seventh in the nation, Mays will be making his second appearance at the highest level of collegiate indoor track and field competition after qualifying for the same event last season. After not qualifying for the finals after throwing foul three times in the preliminary rounds, Mays is hungry to perform to the best of his abilities.
“I would love to win it,” he said. “I would love to go in and come out on top. If not, at least in the top eight and being recognized as an All-American student-athlete is really our number one goal. Just to at least stay at the same position I'm at at seven or move up is what I'm going to be thinking heading into the meet.”
Should Mays earn All-American honors, he would be the first CMU indoor track and field student-athlete to do so since Abraham Mach in the 800m run in 2008. Mays' qualification this season marks the third consecutive season in which a CMU indoor track and field student-athlete has made it to the National Championships.
Mays said the opportunity to compete with the top throwers in the nation last season, though his performance wasn't up to his expectations, was a learning experience that he will carry forward to this weekend's competition.
"I can't really worry about the competition,” he said. “I can only take care of me and do what I expect myself to do, and that's going to be most important. These guys aren't really any different than I am and I can't go out and expect to be anyone but myself.”
Mays has been working hard to get back in the top shape he was in earlier this season after being sidelined for 11 days – including the Mid-American Conference Championships – with a non-athletic medical situation. In just his third day back to physical activity last Friday, he threw for a mark of 66-09.25 at the Alex Wilson Invitational at Notre Dame. With an additional week of practice under his belt heading into Boise, Mays said he is feeling confident.
“The past few days I've been feeling very good,” he said.
And even when he arrives in Boise on Thursday, Mays said he is going to try to treat and prepare for it just like any other meet.
“You really don't want to do too much different,” he said. “It's kind of the same road I've been down before, so I want to keep it as normal as possible and hope for the best possible outcome.”
Mays is the only CMU student-athlete who will be participating at the meet, and one of just two male student-athletes from the Mid-American Conference. He is ranked ahead of two Michigan State throwers and a Michigan thrower, making him the top collegiate weight thrower from the state of Michigan to this point in the season.
“I think it does a great deal for the university to compete at the national level, Mays said. “When we do excel at the highest level we hope that those who we're associated with recognize that.”
Senior multi-event competitor Josh Kettlewell, coming off an outstanding season in which he won the MAC championship in the heptathlon and finished fourth in the pole vault, was not selected by the NCAA over the weekend to compete in the heptathlon in Boise.