UNK triple jumpers look to gain All-American honors
Rewind to three years ago, and it is hard to believe Marty Molina, a junior social work major from Kearney, would be team captain of the jump squad, ranked third nationally for triple jump and a favorite to win the event at the RMAC indoor conference meet.
Coming out of a successful high school track career, Molina, a junior from Kearney, was looking to work right after school and skip out on college. It wasn’t until a few people encouraged him that he changed his mind.
“Coming out of high school I had intentions to come to college— but not really the motivation or willingness behind it. I was talking to some of the athletes in 2007-2008, and they kind of encouraged me. So being from Kearney, it seemed like the right pick,” said Molina.
Molina was the national leader for triple jump at one point, but fell to third after sitting out a weekend. Such a high ranking might cause an athlete to brag— but not Molina. He knows that attitude is everything and boasting will get you nowhere.
“I do my best to remain humble. I see that being cocky doesn’t really get athletes too far, and it’s a huge turnoff to people, so I really try not to be that guy.”
There’s no question that the coaches look for leadership in Molina as captain this year. “I know I’m expected to give a lot of encouragement to the younger guys and really be a team leader,” he said.
Molina has set high goals for himself. Taking home first in both the triple and long jump at the indoor RMAC conference will not be an easy task, but he believes he can do it.
“I really want to lead my team to the gold and be there to support them at conference. On the national level, my first goal is to be an All-American, which is top eight at nationals. But I would really love to bring home a championship trophy in triple jump.”
Last year, Molina was awarded second team All-American honors and now looks to join the first team for 2011.
Molina still has another year left for indoor track after 2011, but he has ideas about what he wants to do after school.
“I want to stay in the Midwest, but I’m going into social work.”
Molina says he wants to get into the field as a juvenile delinquent case worker or a similar profession. “I want to move to a bigger city because I know there’s a lot more opportunity, but I would really love to stay in the Midwest because its where I’m from,” he said.