Player Profile – Track and Field: Malcolm Mason-Rodriguez ’11

Co-captain Malcolm Mason-Rodriguez ’11 has broken not one but two school track records this season, in the 100-meter dash and the triple jump, and is dangerously close to breaking a third in his final meet this Saturday against Exeter.

Mason-Rodriguez broke his first record in April against NMH when he ran the 100-meter dash in 10.6 seconds. This time beat the long-standing record of Joseph Sutherland ’81, 10.7 seconds, by a tenth of a second.

Mason-Rodriguez believes that his greatest strength as a sprinter is his endurance. He said, “Many people think that the winners of races speed up at the end of the race. It seems that way because the other runners are slowing down. I think I do a good job of maintaining my speed throughout the whole race compared to the other runners.”

Coach Corbin Lang believes that Mason-Rodriguez’s pure athleticism is the main contributor to his huge success. “Malcolm is a natural athlete,” Lang said. “Not only does he have a tremendous amount of both speed and power, but he is coordinated enough to transfer that energy correctly.”

Coach Lou Bernieri believes Mason-Rodriguez is “the best track athlete this school has seen in 35 years.”

Just minutes after breaking the 100-meter record, Mason-Rodriguez moved to the triple jump, his best event. He broke his own record of 47’ 11.25” from 2010 by a full five inches with a 48’ 3” jump. This spectacular jump was evidently not good enough for Mason-Rodriguez as he beat the distance once again on May 7 with a 48’ 5.5” triple jump.

“In the triple jump, I’d have to say the strongest aspect of my jump is my form,” said Mason-Rodriguez. “It’s always been better than my competitors and allowed me to be so successful. My jumping coach, Coach Farrell, taught me everything I know about jumping.”

Farrell also agrees that Mason-Rodriguez’s jumping form has allowed him to achieve the great success that he has in the triple jump. “What is really exceptional is that Malcolm is ambidextrous in the legs,” Farrell said. “At this year’s New England championship meet, he hit the triple jump board on the wrong foot, yet he still successfully executed what turned out to be the winning jump – a jump that was five feet farther than his nearest competitor.”

Mason-Rodriguez was not always a track star, however, and happened to stumble upon the sport in his lower year. “I didn’t make the JV1 lacrosse team and didn’t really want to play on the JV2 team again, so I decided to switch to track.” This decision was clearly the right one, as he tied the lower record for the 200-meter dash with a 22.83 second time and broke the lower records for both the long jump and the triple jump with distances of 22’ 1.75” and 46’ 2.25”, respectively, in just his first year of track.

All of Mason-Rodriguez’s records are the results of extremely hard work that has helped to build strength, speed and coordination. “Outside of practice, I do a lot of plyometric workouts, which involves a lot of jumping,” he said. “That helps both by speed and jumping because it improves my leg strength primarily. In practice, we do much of the same stuff but also a lot of sprinting.”

Lang is very impressed with Malcolm’s work ethic and respect toward his coaches. “Day in and day out, he is honing his craft,” Lang said. “On any particular day and in any particular meet, Malcolm understands and can execute what his coaches are saying.”

Mason-Rodriguez will be playing football at Harvard University but hopes to be able to run track at the college level as well. “I haven’t really worked that out with the football coach, so we’ll see what happens,” he said. “I’ve talked to the track coach and he really wants me on the team.”

At this point in the season, Mason-Rodriguez is focused on breaking one more school record, the oldest record in Andover track history: the long jump. His personal record for the long jump is 23’ 9”, just three and a half inches shy of the 24’ 0.5” record of Maurie Gould ’39. “That’s definitely my main goal right now,” said Mason-Rodriguez.