Despite earning All-America honors at the 2012 NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships over the weekend, sophomore Maalik Reynolds is still thinking of what might have been.
The sophomore finished at 2.20 meters in Nampa, Idaho, on Saturday, and his eighth-place finish was good enough to guarantee him All-America status for the second time in his young career.
But it wasn’t good enough for Reynolds, who feels he could have done much better had he not sprained his ankle during the warm-up before the Heptagonal Championships two weeks ago.
“I did warm-up practices just to get me back in running mode,” Reynolds said. “But those were more about looking after my ankle and weren’t the all-out practices that I should have been doing. Not being able to go full out, sitting out for a week and not being able to actually jump until the meet really hindered me.”
“The healing process had gotten to about 85 percent so I knew he was going to be able to jump,” coach Robin Martin said. “But he was a little rusty and inevitably that kind of led to some mistakes. He definitely could have done better.”
Reynolds won the indoor high jump title just hours after suffering the sprain at the Indoor Heptagonal meet last month, so he is used to persevering. The letdown this weekend, though, has given him an extra reason to win.
“I’m not happy at all, but I’ll use this as motivation for outdoors,” Reynolds said.
However, Reynolds has already enjoyed more than his fair share of high jump successes in just two years at Penn. He already owns the school record in both the indoor and outdoor high jump and was the high jump champion last year in the 2011 Indoor IC4A and Outdoor Heptagonal Championships. It’s not surprising that his coach believes he has a high ceiling.
“I see a national championship in his future,” Martin said. “I see him making some USA teams. He always rises to the level of competition to make it happen.”
As an underclassman, Reynolds is indeed just getting started, and his eyes are set on ultimately making the Olympics. So just winning All-American honors doesn’t cut it for him anymore.
“I guess I’m happy about [earning All-America honors], but I don’t look at titles and labels,” he said. “I just want to go out there and get a mark that I can be satisfied with. The main thing for me is just consistency, consistency, consistency.”
For Reynolds, consistency means 2.26 m (7-foot-5) or bust in the outdoor high jump this spring. Reynolds’ standards are lofty, but only a sprained ankle has grounded his expectations so far in his college career.
“The sky’s the limit for Maalik,” Martin said.