Wisconsin redshirt senior Austin Mudd’s track and field college career hit a peak, earning two first-team All-American honors as a sophomore in 2013.
Mudd qualified for All-American status by finishing third in the mile in a then-school record time of 3:57.93 (now No. 2 on Wisconsin’s career list) in the NCAA indoor meet and fourth in the 1,500 meters in 3:50.84.
The 2011 Center Grove High School graduate’s career trajectory was slowed by Achilles tendinitis in both feet. After battling it off and on in 2014, it worsened in 2015 to the point where he was forced to medically redshirt.
“It’s pretty hard to tell, but workouts have been going really well,” Mudd said. “That’s a positive sign. It’s really encouraging and I think I just need to get a few more races under my belt and I’ll be back where I was when I was in my prime, so to say.”
Mudd said his focus in the fall was getting healthy.
“I took the entire week of Thanksgiving off, which is something I haven’t done in the past,” Mudd said. “I think that’s played a key role in my status of being healthy at this point of the season. I don’t want to jinx myself, but I think I’m in the clear.”
In the fall of 2013, he began to be hampered by Achilles tendinitis.
“But I was fine by the time track season started,” said Mudd, who finished second in 800 meters in the Big Ten indoor meet and third in the 800 in the Big Ten outdoor meet.
Mudd made it through the entire first semester in the fall of 2014. He then got hurt over Christmas break.
“Then it was two months of no running before I was back doing OK then,” Mudd said.
So the decision was made to redshirt.
Mudd has raced in few meets and is gearing up for the Big Ten Indoor Championships on Feb. 26-27. He finished sixth in the 800 meters in the Armory Invitational.
“I think I’m in a pretty good spot,” he said. “It’s hard not to get caught up in all these other times people are running. But you have to keep it in perspective that I just took the entire year off from racing basically. I’m trying to re-learn how to race and push myself through that comfort zone with these early meets. I think I’m in really good spot. I’m healthy and that’s all I can ask for.”
Mudd said his goal is to make it to the NCAA meets.
Mudd, who will graduate in May with a degree in economics, isn’t sure of his future plans.
“I’m just trying to focus on running,” said Mudd, who is shooting to better the times he had as a sophomore.
Mudd is fifth all-time in school history in the 800 (1:47.59).
THE MUDD FILE
Name: Austin Mudd
Family: Parents, Tony and Susan; brother, Dalton
Favorite video game: Call of Duty.
Favorite TV show: “The Office.”
Favorite way to relax: “Bought a canoe, when the lake is not frozen I like to go out fishing. When the lakes are frozen, I’m just watching TV — watching ‘The Office.’”
Favorite restaurant: Chick-fil-A
Favorite Madison spot: “The Memorial Union Terrace, which sits right on Lake Mendota. It’s a fun spot to hang out in the summer.”
Wisconsin career highlight: “My sophomore season, you’re never complaining when you’re healthy and running fast times. We took just had a handful of guys to the indoor national meet and we ended up finishing third as a team. That was a really awesome experience.I learned a lot from the older guys that were there. I learned what it really means to be a Badger and compete in that uniform.”