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Photo by Steven Sutton/DUOMO

“Persistence.” 

Jeff Pflaumbaum, the throws coach for Penn track and field, says this is the thing that sophomore thrower Mayyi Mahama is going to need to break the indoor weight throw record this weekend.  

“Being persistent and continuing to navigate through the emotional task that it takes to break it,” Pflaumbaum said.

Mahama, however, is no stranger to accolades or working hard to achieve them. Her performances throughout her freshman year are strong evidence of this.

“Along with her natural, insane strength and skill, she works incredibly hard every day and never disrespects the sport,” sophomore thrower Nia Caldwell said. “She hasn’t even reached her full potential yet.”

Last season, Mahama earned a spot on the 2019 indoor All-Ivy second team. Over the summer, she finished off her outdoor season as the U20 Pan American Games runner-up for hammer, throwing 61.61m. At the 2019 USATF U20 Championships, Mahama threw a distance of 65.66m, good enough to set a program record and to earn her second-best in Ivy League history. 

At the NCAA tournament last summer, Mahama placed 24th in the hammer throw with a distance of 55.63m. This earned her an All-American honorable mention.

The Red and Blue have been training since late August to get to the start of indoor track season. Now in season, the Quakers practice five days a week, with team lifts all on top of that. Mahama tackles the practices and lifts with a work ethic second to none, according to her coach. 

“She is at a point where she’s ascending to an elite level,” Pflaumbaum said.

Mahama has a wonderful opportunity this indoor track season to break the weight throw record.

“I would like to break it very badly. […] I've been on the cusp of breaking this record for an entire year, and I think I just really need to do it,” Mahama said.

During her freshman year, Mahama had recently graduated Rachel Wilson to look up to. Sitting just behind Wilson, who set the current record for weight throw at 20.53m in 2019, Mahama achieved her own personal record at 20.09m last Saturday. 

For Mahama, the difference in breaking the indoor track weight throw record is going to be her mentality going into the meet.

“In practice, the thing is I've definitely broken it. […] The only thing stopping me is myself, and she’s not getting in my way this weekend,” Mahama said.

With three meets down, the team has an additional four weeks left to compete and prepare for the yearly Ivy League Indoor Heptagonal Championships the weekend of February 29. 

“I would not be surprised [if] within 48 hours [...] [Mahama] has passed both of those marks,” Pflaumbaum said.

Mahama has her eyes on the prize this upcoming weekend but is focusing on the future as well. 

“I have a good feeling about it,” says Mahama.

The Penn men and women’s track team will compete this upcoming weekend at Penn State in the  Sykes & Sabok Challenge. The whole team will be awaiting Mahama’s record-shattering throw. 

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