Corey in the House

Corey Mullins '19 wins the 2017 Weikert Award.

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Corey Mullins '19, accepts the 2017 Weikert Award from John Williams during halftime of the alumni weekend home football game. Photo courtesy of Muhlenberg Athletics.

Few could have imagined what Corey Mullins ‘19 would be capable of when he began his running career in eighth grade with a local track club in Danbury, Conn. He credits the start-up program with coaches that “weren’t the best” for establishing the foundation for his running. It made him realize how much he loved racing, a love that brought him to where he is now—a record setter, a gold medalist and an All-America honoree.

Mullins has been a standout on the cross country team since he arrived at Muhlenberg in 2015. As a freshman, he was the Mules’ number two runner and finished in the top 20 of the first five meets in his collegiate career. He was the second freshman, and 18th overall, to cross the finish line in his first Centennial Conference Championships, and seventh among freshmen at the NCAA Mideast Regional.

In 2016, Mullins was somehow faster and more competitive than the year before. He placed within the top 15 in five of seven meets, with three finishes in the top five: 3rd at the Moravian Invitational, 4th at the DeSales Invitational and 5th at the Lehigh Invitational. At the NCAA Mideast Regionals, he placed 11th, moving 33 places from the year before. To top off a sensational sophomore season, Mullins qualified for the NCAA championships—only the fourth male runner in Muhlenberg history to qualify as a sophomore.

While he may be recognized for his achievements during the fall, Mullins spends his winter and spring seasons with the track and field team. He’s a star there too. Mullins ran as a member of the distance medley relay team that not only won the gold medal at the Centennial Conference Championships in a meet-record time of 10:03.21 but also earned All-America honors by finishing seventh at the NCAA Championships in indoor track.

Being an All-America honoree earned Mullins the Sidney G. Weikert Sophomore Athlete of the Year Award, an award that recognized athletic prowess, campus contribution and a strong academic record.

“I was shocked that the school had chosen me to receive the Weikert Award this year, something that I’ve been told is rare for a cross country or track and field athlete. The fact that cross country is more an individual sport has something to do with that, as it’s harder to be a clear benefit of the team and program than say a football quarterback, such as Nick Palladino,” said Mullins. “With that said, it was a great honor to receive that award. I have to admit I’m very lucky to have the talent in running that I do, but the main purpose of the Weikert Award is to show the benefits of hard work and determination, no matter where it’s coming from, in or out of practice. Hopefully I inspired that in others, no matter which sport they play.”

Before the end of his sophomore year, Mullins had already cemented himself in Muhlenberg record books. According to Muhlenberg Athletics, on the school’s all-time performance lists, he ranks in the top ten of six indoor and outdoor events: seventh in the 800, sixth in the 1000, eighth in the mile, sixth in the 3000, fifth in the 1500 and second in the 5000.

Just a couple meets into the cross country season, Mullins already seems to be strides ahead of last season’s performances. Weeks before he accepted the Weikert Award at halftime of the homecoming football game, Mullins finish first among non-Division I runners and 10th overall, proving once again he can hold his own against top schools in any division. He has a more humble view of his success, however.

“I generally try to ignore the teams and divisions of people I’m running against, as it can get in your head too much when you’re racing,” said Mullins. “With that in mind, it’s a lot of fun to know that I can beat D1 runners, while also getting beaten by D3 runners just in our conference; any cross country athlete is still their own individual athlete, racing the same course, and it doesn’t matter what school they have on their singlet.”

Hopefully I inspired that in others, no matter which sport they play.

His humble mindset extends further than just beating D1 teams or earning All-America honors. The captain of the men’s cross country team, Mullins credits his teammates for a majority of his success, claiming there’s no way he’d be where he’s at today without them. He speaks highly of Jaryd Flank ‘17, a former cross country and track & field athlete who holds three school records, was a three time qualifier for the NCAA cross country meet, and became Muhlenberg’s first cross country All-American. Mullins says training with him was an honor and hopes he can build on Flank’s success.

Making and breaking records of his own should be no problem for Mullins, who was already named Centennial Conference men’s cross country athlete of the week. With two years of record-setting running behind him and just under two years to go, Mullins shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

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