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Spikes on, new records set

Maldima sprints past old records
Coppell+junior+Matthew+Maldima+broke+Coppell+High+School%E2%80%99s+100-meter+and+200-meter+run+record+on+April+12+at+the+2024+5-6A%2F6-6A+Area+Championships%2C+setting+a+new+school+record+of+10.29+and+20.89.+Maldima+currently+holds+the+second-best+wind-legal+time+in+the+nation+and+advanced+to+state+in+the+4x100%2C+100-meter+and+200-meter+races.+
Wendy Le
Coppell junior Matthew Maldima broke Coppell High School’s 100-meter and 200-meter run record on April 12 at the 2024 5-6A/6-6A Area Championships, setting a new school record of 10.29 and 20.89. Maldima currently holds the second-best wind-legal time in the nation and advanced to state in the 4×100, 100-meter and 200-meter races.
Coppell junior Matthew Maldima broke Coppell High School’s 100-meter and 200-meter run record on April 12 at the 2024 5-6A/6-6A Area Championships, setting a new school record of 10.29 and 20.89. Maldima currently holds the second-best wind-legal time in the nation and advanced to state in the 4×100, 100-meter and 200-meter races. (Wendy Le)

In the empty silence before each track meet, Coppell High School junior Matthew Maldima stares blankly into the ground and envisions how his races might turn out. Or rather, him winning. 

Followed by slow breaths, he says a prayer and steps onto the start line. Block start and drive phase; these words drown his thoughts as he gets into the blocks. 

Stepping onto the Denton Braswell track of Ray Braswell High School on April 12, Maldima was determined to make the comeback of not qualifying for state the prior year due to his overworked shin. 

As the gunshot pierces the air, his feet swing back and forth, eyes locked on the finish line. 

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Despite the swift speed he’s moving at, he feels the opposite. 

By the end of the sprint, he broke Coppell’s record with a 10.29 race in the 100-meter and 20.89 200-meter at the 2024 5-6A/6-6A Area Championships. The 10.29 puts him as No. 2 in the nation. 

“I didn’t even think I was running that fast,” Maldima said. “The goal to running fast in track is just to stay relaxed. And that’s one thing that I’ve been working on this season, is just staying relaxed and not tense up.” 

However, this is not his first time being on the national list, nor breaking the record.

Originally playing soccer, Maldima was always about speed. 

But when track & field entered the picture, his speed wasn’t enough. 

It is also about the technicalities.

“I had to keep in mind that Matthew was coming to me from a soccer background and not track,” track and field coach Eric Hill said. “I had to make sure he understood the nuances of track: the preparation, the warm up, block starts and acceleration.”

As Maldima’s high school track career progresses, he’s consistently broken the school record with his staggering time in the 100-meter races. First in freshman year, with 10.40 and 10.36 sophomore year, which landed him on the Top 25 in the nation list. 

“When I first saw my name on the list, I thought ‘I did that,” Maldima said. “It was just a really good feeling the very first time. Then, eventually, it became more natural to me. It became the standard and I realized this is where I want to be at all times.”

The summer following freshman year, he participated in the AAU Junior Olympics after qualifying for the regionals meet. However, due to his poor preparation and overwhelming conditions of the camp, the results were not in his favor.

But last summer, when Maldima received the opportunity to take part in the 2023 Nike Outdoor Nationals, he knew this was his redemption chance.

Coppell junior Matthew Maldima broke Coppell High School’s 100-meter and 200-meter run record on April 12 at the 2024 5-6A/6-6A Area Championships, setting a new school record of 10.29 and 20.89. Maldima currently holds the second-best wind-legal time in the nation and advanced to state in the 4×100, 100-meter and 200-meter races. (Wendy Le)

Stepping onto University of Oregon’s Hayward Field, the same venue that has hosted world championships and Olympic Trails, Maldima was flooded with emotions. 

“Hayward Field is one of the most prestigious tracks in the world so actually being there and looking at everything, it was just so surreal,” Maldima said. 

The next day, Maldima ran the 100-meter and 200-meter which landed him second place with the time of 10.74 and 22.11. This qualified him for the finals in the 100-meter Championship and 200-meter Emerging Elite. 

Maldima finished the championship in fifth place for the 100-meter dash with 10.54, earning him the 2023 Nike Outdoors All-American title. 

“He’s running with some of the fastest kids in the country,” Hill said. “We went up all the way to Oregon and he was still able to finish top. It just told me that he belonged.”

When traveling to any event, whether it’s 10 miles or more than 1,000 miles away, there’s always one person that can be spotted in the crowd: Matthew’s dad Michael Maldima. 

“It’s very rare that I’ve missed a meet,” Mr. Maldima said. “Just knowing that there’s somebody apart from your schoolmates coming and also looking out for you, I know that Matthew would want to see those videos and assess how he did and how to improve and all that stuff. So it’s my little contribution. “ 

It is the support of his family, friends and coaches that’s helped him get to where he is today.

“Coach Hill will push us every single day and wants the best for each and every single one of us,” friend and teammate Coppell senior Ayrion Sneed said. “He can find little techniques to get us to where we want to be. Aiden McFarland, he’s one of the top hurdlers in the nation, too, so he’s really a mentor to Matthew. All the track kids also push each other by competing every day.” 

In his free time, Matthew likes to pick up his Canon EOS Rebel T7 DSLR camera and capture shots of car shows. It can be found at @matthew_shot_it on Instagram.

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Matthew (@matthew_shot_it) • Instagram photos and videos

As his journey continues, he hopes to balance his aspirations for business to follow in the footsteps of his aunt and uncle and pursue track at a collegiate level. 

Follow @Sidekicksports on Twitter.

This story was originally published on Coppell Student Media on May 6, 2024.