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Sunday, October 17, 2021

Sports

Shaun Maswanganyi already making impact for UH track and field


Shaun Maswangany takes off for the UH track and field team at the Texas Relays | Joe Buvid / UH Athletics

Shaun Maswangany takes off for the UH track and field team at the Texas Relays. | Joe Buvid/UH Athletics

Not even a full year into his collegiate career, freshman Phatutshedzo “Shaun” Maswanganyi is already making a huge impact for the Houston track and field team.

The reigning American Athletic Conference men’s track athlete of the week has made his mark both locally and nationally with head-turning performances in numerous meets throughout his young yet impressive collegiate résumé.

To conclude his first collegiate indoor track season, Maswanganyi became the only track and field athlete from UH to be invited to compete at the 2021 NCAA Championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas where he finished seventh in the first heat in the prelims with a time of 6.67, just missing out on a spot in the finals.

Despite not performing as well as he would have liked to, Maswanganyi took a lot of value from the experience.

“It was a good experience to be honest,” Maswanganyi said. “It was more like a learning curve for me, and it was really tough for the way I went out because obviously I had goals to win. The indoor season for me was vital because now I know what it feels like to be on a big stage and what it takes to represent UH for the rest of the season and my four years here.”

A change from his preferred outdoor running scene, Maswanganyi learned to adapt to the indoor track, something that he was not too familiar with from prior experience.

“I ran one [indoor] meet last year, and the whole scenario was kind of weird for me and how everything is set up,” Maswanganyi said.

“But I got used to that and I feel like the indoor season this year has prepared me and built my confidence. I feel like I’m ready to put in everything I’ve worked for indoors and translate it into my outdoor events now,” Maswanganyi added.

Due to the current circumstances because of COVID-19, Maswanganyi’s first collegiate season was different from what a normal start to the season would have been.

This ended up being just another obstacle to the many barriers that he had to overcome as he adjusted to the college lifestyle.

“Coming in and adjusting and adapting to the new environment and the new training was different,” Maswanganyi said. “My teammates saw me struggling, but they still motivated me while trying to keep me up as well as the coaches too.”

Only halfway through his first full collegiate season, Maswanganyi has his sights set on both the present and his future. He believes he can improve on what has already been a strong start to his track career.

“My ultimate goal is to not only be a good collegiate and post-collegiate athlete,” Maswanganyi said.

“I want to be consistent, and I still want to be able to win championships and titles because at the end of the day, I want to treat my college years as a base for when I go pro. And I think that’s the best way to approach it.”

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