WHS’s Mubarik Musa signs to run at USDWORTHINGTON — Worthington’s Mubarik Musa can’t help but send a smile across his face when attempting to explain the art of running. Musa licks his lips, stares for a second and tries to explain running as if it’s a math equation with a definitive answer.
WORTHINGTON — Worthington’s Mubarik Musa can’t help but send a smile across his face when attempting to explain the art of running. Musa licks his lips, stares for a second and tries to explain running as if it’s a math equation with a definitive answer.
“When it comes to racing, I just think of my pace as the same rhythm,” Musa said. “You have to teach your body and your brain to have the same rhythm.
“If I run five minutes for the first mile, I expect to run five minutes for the second mile and so on.”
For a guy who can run 15 to 20 miles a day, is a state champion in the 1,600 meters, a runner-up in the 3,200 meters at the state meet, a three-time Southwest Conference champion and a state qualifier in both cross country and track every year since eighth grade, for the senior, running is just as easy as finding X.
“You just put your music on and put those miles in,” Musa said. “When you’re running, you focus on the pain, but for me I try not to think about how many miles I have to run or how many minutes I have to continue running.
“If I have to run 10 miles, I’m going to run 10 miles.”
In this equation, Musa has found D-I, as the runner signed with the University of South Dakota last Friday, mainly because USD converted its athletics to D-I in 2004.
“It just made a transition from D-II to D-I,” Musa said. “As a runner, that’s the one thing I wanted to do. I wanted to continue my running with a program that was on the rise.”
For Musa, it came down to three schools.
“It came down to the University of South Dakota, Moorehead State University in Kentucky and Iowa Central,” Musa said. “At the end, I had to go with South Dakota. The coaches really wanted me there.”
Although many who experience the sun on a regular basis would argue, the Midwest weather also led Musa to USD.
“It’s the Midwest, so I know the weather and the atmosphere I’ll be running in,” Musa said. “If I went down south, it might be too hot for me.
“USD is not far from where I live.”
So a road which began with a flyer from a coach in seventh grade, who was looking for runners, has now continued to USD.
“After signing up (in seventh grade), running became a way of life for me,” Musa said. “You learn a lot of things when you run a route.
“It allows you to grow as a person, as you grow with the sport. If I were playing basketball, I’d have to depend on other players, but if you want to make strides in running, you can do all the work by yourself and you can have success.”
One person who has seen Musa grow is WHS cross county and track and field coach Ken Henkels, who is in his third year coaching Musa.
“It’s almost like having another coach,” Henkels said. “He’s worried about the younger kids and keeping everyone motivated. “There are just some kids who will work their tails off.
“He has a big upside. I’m not a coach that makes him run 1,000 miles in the summer time. He’ll work even harder with a coach that drives him.”
Even with his named signed off to college and just one high school running season remaining (track and field), Musa keeps his teammates in mind for his final goals.
“I just want to run at the state meet and I’m hoping, as a team, we can bring a few more people to state,” Musa said. “We had a lot of seniors who graduated, so the bar is a little higher, but I think we can still bring a lot of kids to state with us and hopefully we can score some points and place at state.”
The mentality of helping and teaching could be a big reason why Musa would like to study nursing or something in the medical field at the USD.
No matter where Musa goes, he’ll be running there.
“After South Dakota, hopefully I can continue my running as a professional, but I’ll at least run on a daily basis,” Musa said. “Running is something I will have for the rest of my life with me.”
Daily Globe Sports Editor Chris Murphy can be reached at 376-7328.