Kyle Mau is not an ordinary runner. The Hoosier senior blazes on the cross-country course as if there are hot coals on his feet.
As a junior, he led the IU men’s cross-country team to an 18th-place finish in the nation. Individually, he placed 49th in the national championship race, just nine spots from the prestige of being named All-American.
Kyle Mau is not an ordinary person. When he speaks, the Hudson, Ohio, native reveals a kindness as though he has known you for years. Mau is not fixated on his numerous accomplishments, despite starting to place his name among a legion of great runners to wear cream and crimson.
He prefers to take life and cross-country one day at a time.
“I just go out there and be the best I can be,” Mau said. “I do not look at positioning myself among the history and just try to be the best I can be that day and that race.”
IU head coach Ron Helmer said Mau’s personality and talent are a rare combination in today’s sports world.
“He will kick your butt and make you like it,” Helmer said.
Mau’s race results reveal a consistent upward trend. At the Big Ten Championships, from his redshirt freshman through junior years, he placed 37th, 17th and seventh, respectively.
However, Mau has bought into Helmer’s aggressive mentality, striving to devote himself to IU cross-country over the past four years.
“He’s such an incredible kid," Helmer said. "He works so hard and deserves everything he gets, and he is so invested in the team and his teammates.”
This buy-in mentality is starting to become effusive on the Hoosier squad. While Mau may have led the commitment crusade, he credits his teammates.
“My teammates push me to be the best version of myself, so it’s really fun when you have a team that is bought in each and every day,” Mau said. “We have the greatest numbers of guys who are bought in to what the coaches are doing.”
This atmosphere has led to grandiose expectations for Mau’s senior season. The Hoosiers are racing for a Big Ten title and are hungry to best their 18th-place finish at the national championship meet last year.
IU will be relying on the experience of Mau to reach those lofty heights as they race in high-pressure moments. The senior will be comfortable in his shoes come November for the postseason races.
“I think it just helps being in the same position again,” Mau said. “Being in that type of environment will definitely help me as I head into postseason.”
With one last season to bring his work ethic, commitment and rapid speed to the course, Mau wants to create lasting memories.
“I’m just trying to appreciate every last moment I have and just make the most of each race,” Mau said.
Through the intensity will come the humble demeanor that has lead Mau to great heights as a Hoosier runner. The combination of Mau’s talent and personality will allow him to leave a legacy and culture that will be felt by the program for years to come.
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