Crossing The Finish Line

May 11, 2004

BY SCOTT MacDONALD
SPORTS INFORMATION ASSISTANT

When you talk to Georgia Tech senior Brendon Mahoney, you get the sense that he knows exactly what he is doing. The recipient of Georgia Tech Athletic Association’s highest honor, the Total Person Award, on April 13 and a 13-time All-ACC honoree, Mahoney has accomplished more than most at Tech. So when the senior says, “My goal is to win NCAAs and I believe it to be very attainable,” you don’t dismiss that possibility.

The All-America in the 800 meters and mile is shooting for his first honor in the 1500 meters at the Outdoor NCAA Championships, June 9-12, in Austin, Texas. First, the fifth-year senior must qualify for the national meet by placing in the top five in the 1500m at the NCAA East Region Championships, in Gainesville, Fla., May 28-29.

“I’m qualified for the 800 and 1500, but for right now I think I’m going to run just the 1500,” said Mahoney. “I’m feeling really strong right now so that could change once we get to the NCAA Region Championships and double.”

The Cumming, Ga., native ran a time of 3:42.92 at the Cardinal Invitational, which ranks him 15th nationally. The school record holder in the outdoor mile (4:00.29) has the top times in the ACC in the 1500 and 800 (1:50.65) and won both events at the Outdoor ACC Championships, April 16-17.

“The ACC double (running 800 and 1500) is the hardest thing, physically, I’ve ever put myself through,” said Mahoney. “When you put yourself through something like that, your nervous and at the same time your body is telling you that you’re tired and you don’t want to do that, but it’s overcoming that, saying that you’re better then these guys out here, and going out there and proving it. Once you’ve gone through that, everything else seems pretty much easy.”

This Friday and Saturday, May 14-15, Mahoney will showcase his talents at the annual Georgia Tech Invitational at the George C. Griffin Track on the campus of Georgia Tech. Mahoney will run the 1500 on Friday at 8 p.m. and will compete in the 800 at 4:55 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. Running one last time at Georgia Tech is something that is going to be unforgettable to the six-time ACC champion.

“I can’t stress how much I’ve learned at Georgia Tech and what being a student-athlete at this school means to me,” said Mahoney. “Running that last meet, performing in a Georgia Tech uniform in front of all those people for one last time, is something that is going to be real special. Hopefully, I will get out there and run the race that I’m capable of, so that I can show everyone how much I’ve progressed over the years. If I could start fresh, I would come back to Georgia Tech and do it all over again.”

Over the years, Mahoney has provided many highlights for Georgia Tech fans and competitors. He has been a leader on and off the track and graduated on Saturday, May 1, with a degree in management. If you ask Brendon, it’s not the athletic accomplishments that he’s going to miss, but the relationships he’s formed at Tech.

“Definitely the friends that I’ve made along the way,” said Mahoney. “People that have reached out to me and been mentors, has really been the most significant thing to me at Tech. Being on the Student-Athlete Advisory Board was an awesome experience. Speaking with [Athletic Director] Coach [Dave] Braine once a month is something that I will always cherish. The good times, the roommates, week in and week out, traveling with the team, bonding with them, competing with them, has been special. You really have so much in common, because everyone is working hard, and it brings you all together. I’d say that the people here at Tech have been the most memorable team, friends and mentors, I’ve ever had.”

Mahoney’s final season has been his most successful. At the Indoor Atlantic Coast Conference Championships, Mahoney captured the 800 meters and mile en route to leading Tech to a fourth-place finish with 72 points. For his efforts, Mahoney was named Indoor ACC Performer of the Year for the second time in his illustrious career. At the Outdoor ACC meet, Mahoney continued his brilliance by winning the 800 and 1500, leading Tech to a fourth-place finish, one point shy of third place. Mahoney was named Outdoor ACC Performer of the Year for the first time in his career.

“As far as approaching this year, I set my goals high every year, but this year, I knew it was going to be a little bit different,” said Mahoney. “I learned a lot from previous years, as far as training and taking care of myself properly. Little things like stretching every night, watching my Iron count, and basically learning from the past seasons and putting it all together.

“Winning the indoor 800 and mile at the same meet was something that I set for myself when I first came to Tech. So winning those events this year was really awesome. Outdoor I had the same high goals and it was a little tougher with the two events only being an hour apart, but at the end of the day, I was glad I did it.”

This season has been one of the more successful seasons for any Georgia Tech athlete. No matter what happens in the next four weeks, Mahoney will leave a legacy behind, but it’s one that he wants to add to.

“Winning the national championship in the 1500,” said Mahoney. “Again, the way I’m feeling and the way I’m training, and how strong I am right now, there’s no reason I couldn’t. That’s really my main focus over the next five weeks, winning the 1500 at nationals.”

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