MEDINA — One thing’s for sure, Malik Tuck has always been up for a challenge.
In the course of three years, the recent Medina graduate took himself from being just another sprinter on the Bees track team to standing atop the podium at the state meet.
Now, The Gazette MVP in boys track is looking to do the same thing at Division II Tiffin University.
“(Tiffin’s coaches) possibly might put me on the 4×4 team as the second leg, then I would run the 200, but who knows,” Tuck said. “I don’t think they know how versatile I can be. I know I can make an impact right away, because that’s where my mindset is.
“This is a new challenge for me and I’m ready to just go at it.”
That versatility — and mindset — was Tuck’s trademark at Medina, especially this past spring when he did everything from sprints, to relays and even tried his hand at the hurdles for this first time in his career finishing with positive results.
The 6-foot, 170-pounder ran the anchor leg on the Bees’ 4×100-meter relay that captured the D-I state crown in June and placed seventh in the 200.
He will look to continue that success for the Dragons, who are coming off of one of their best seasons in school history, finishing a program-best third in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, breaking seven school records and sending eight athletes in five separate events to the D-II National Championships in May.
“I’m excited to be at Tiffin this year,” Tuck said. “They are opening a new facility for track and their program is really beginning to take off. I have heard nothing but excellent things about the school.”
Tiffin wasn’t Tuck’s first choice, however, as the 18-year-old was sold on Cincinnati after his visit and talking with the coaching staff, but the program’s lack of scholarship money available was one of the reasons he started to look elsewhere.
“If Cincy had track scholarships, I would probably be a Bearcat right now,” said Tuck, who was also considering Kent State and Baldwin-Wallace College. “That’s where I’m hoping to be next year. I took a visit down there and absolutely fell in love with the place. The coaches were great and kept in contact with me, but things that weren’t track related kept me from going there.”
What helped Tuck, who plans on majoring in broadcast communications, and the Dragons make a deal was the fact that his cousin and Buckeye standout Carlton Watkins also intends on competing for Tiffin in 2011.
The two have had a close relationship and the fact that he would get a chance to run with someone he considers a brother will help Tuck adjust to college life and concentrate on his goals.
“Long story short, I was hanging with (Carlton) and we were talking about college and I said ‘I really need to find a place to be at next year pretty soon,’” he said. “Then he told me to check out Tiffin.
So I emailed the coach and within two days I received a phone call and we started talking more and more after that.
“It’s great to start off my first year with someone I have known my whole life and who I trust.”
While he’s not sure exactly what the future holds, the former Bee knows what can happen if you set your sights on a goal.
“Even though I said I wanted to be at Cincinnati next year don’t get me wrong. I’m very excited to start my career off here and who knows what will happen.
“It’s a small school and I’m a big school-type of guy, so I think being in a small college atmosphere is good for my first year. So Aug. 29, I plan to start getting ready for the D-II National Championship.”
Contact Dan Brown at email@example.com.