February 19, 2008 | 10:22 p.m. CST
COLUMBIA -Sophomore track athlete Nick Adcock almost quit track during his freshman year at Oak Park High School in Kansas City all because he didn’t like to run the hurdles.
Now Adcock has a gold medal in the decathlon, a combination of ten events, in the 2007 USA Track and Field Junior Championships, a silver in the same event from the 2007 Pan-American Junior Championships, and the MU records for the 60 meter indoor hurdles and heptathlon, a combination of seven events.
Mark Maus, Assistant Principal and head track coach at Oak Park coached Adcock throughout high school and was responsible for entering Adcock into the hurdles.
“It was something we kind of made him do because we knew he’d be successful,” Maus said. “I could tell through his body language that it certainly was not his favorite thing to do.”
Adcock said he discussed the option of quitting with his parents. But they convinced him to stick it out and give the hurdles a chance and he slowly started to warm up to the event.
“It just kind of grew on me,” Adcock said. “Now its probably one of my most enjoyable events.”
Maus came to realize Adcock’s potential during a windy track meet. He explained that good hurdlers will take three steps between hurdles. But the wind at this particular meet was blowing against the athletes, making it difficult to accomplish this.
“He three-stepped the entire flight and blew the field away,” Maus said.
According to Maus, Adcock received a lot of positive feedback following the race. Maus believes that it was at this point that Adcock began to enjoy competing in the hurdles.
“At that point there were enough people telling him what a good job he did that he thought ‘You know, I am really good at this,’” Maus said.
Years later, Adcock now holds the MU Track and Field records for the 60 meter indoor hurdles at 8.17 seconds, and the heptathlon record at 5,644 points, which is only six points short of the automatic qualifying mark for the NCAA Indoor Championships. The heptathlon consists the 60 meter dash, long jump, shot put, high jump, 60 meter hurdles, pole vault and the 1000 meter run.
The decathlon is a combination of the 100 meter dash, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400 meter dash, 110 meter hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin throw, and the 1500 meter run. In both competitions points are awarded to athletes for their performance rather than place. The athlete with the most points wins.
Maus is now unshakable in his belief that Adcock is special.
“Coaching someone like Nick was an amazing opportunity,” Maus said. “I could coach for the next 30 years and never coach someone as talented as him.”