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INA, Ill. (July 1, 2013) – The Warrior Track and Field team added one more today as Austin Mapps of Du Quoin signed a national letter of intent to run hurdles at Rend Lake College.
Mapps, son of Tracy Mapps of Du Quoin, ran the 110 and 300 meter hurdles for the Du Quoin High School Indians last year as a senior, where he set personal records of 15.3 seconds in the 110 meter race and 39.9 seconds in the 300 meter race. Also during his athletic career at Du Quoin, Mapps competed in middle and long hurdles, and relays.
At RLC, Mapps will compete in the 400 meter hurdles for the Track and Field team, said Head Coach James Wooldridge, and he will also run on the Cross Country team to keep in shape.
Mapps had a bit of a scare on his road to the high school state finals, where he finished top three.
“I hurt my foot at a Sectional meet, but I never got a diagnosis. I was warming up and went over a hurdle when I landed, kind of awkwardly, on my heel. It sent this weird shock through my leg, but I went on with the race to make sure I qualified for State and got the job done,” said Mapps. “I qualified for State, but I think I could’ve done better. It’s still giving me a little bit of trouble, but nothing bad. I want to be the best I can be. I feel like I have a lot of room for improvement.”
Coach Wooldridge didn’t seem fazed by the injury, showing confidence in his newest competitor.
“He sounds like he’s versatile. He’s going to be alright and he’s going to progress and get stronger,” said Wooldridge.
Mapps said he plans to major in business while at RLC with no definite plans for the future. After graduating from RLC, he said he plans to attend a 4-year university to continue running hurdles. He credited RLC’s proximity to his home and friends already attending as reasons for why he chose Rend Lake.
Attending the signing Monday morning with Mapps and Wooldridge was Du Quoin High School Track and Field Head Coach Derek Beard and Assistant Coach Kent Leek, along with RLC Assistant Coach Matt Jackson.
“I think one of the biggest things about Austin is that he’s a great competitor. No matter what the situation is, he’s going to compete,” said Coach Beard, who then spoke of an instance where Mapps did just that. “He came by us in the 300 meter hurdles at the State track meet in about eighth place with about 50 meters to go, and he ended up in third. He told us afterward, ‘I’m not going out in eighth place; I’m going to make a move,’ and he did.”
Coach Leek added, “When it’s time to race and time to go, he puts the extra effort in.”