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Max Mahoney - The Montgomery News Athlete of the Month for March

By Pennie Lu | March 14, 2024

While most track races generally involve people running in a straight line or in circles, Max Mahoney’s journey as an athlete had more in common with a steeplechase course. Mahoney has, metaphorically, hit a few immobile barriers and landed in the water jump in his search for a sport that was the right fit.

Max Mahoney

Max Mahoney.

Mahoney told The Montgomery News, “the real reason I chose cross country is because I wasn’t good at anything else.” He tried baseball, and was even a varsity wrestler his freshman year. However, Mahoney said something was missing. “I started noticing a lot of improvement and success in running, though, so I made the decision to really focus on that instead,” he said.

Running requires intense physical and mental training, and the long-term pressure of the sport can be exhausting. Mahoney, though, discovered that he likes these challenges. “I tell myself that everyone does tough things everyday, and running is just my tough thing,” he explains. “I try to stay away from pre-meet rituals or superstitions, just because I want to feel like the only thing affecting how I run is myself, and no outside thing is gonna change that.”

Whether it is for a sectionals meet or a daily practice, Mahoney always makes sure to give his best effort. He has learned along the way that working hard is not the same as working smart. The summer before freshman year, Mahoney ran every day, expecting his running progress to expedite, but ultimately he ended up with a stress fracture.

“It snowballed into a three-month hiatus,” he said. He took it as a sign to take better care of his body, and even expresses gratitude at having learned this lesson early in high school. The Montgomery High School senior has improved as an athlete, and seems to flourish when confronted with a good uphill challenge. He claims he has “fallen in love with the process of getting better.”

Growing up in Belle Mead, he said he is inspired by his successful entrepreneur father, Kevin Mahoney. His father is the president of — a specialty retailer he founded in 2004. Based in Montgomery Township, the company sells tape, glue, and dispensers throughout the U.S. and ships to more than 50 countries worldwide. Mahoney said his father imprinted the “work hard, play hard” mindset in him. “If I could be even half the man my father is, it would be a huge achievement,” he said.


Rambling Pines

Mahoney plans to study biology at the University of Miami. In his last MHS Cross Country season, Mahoney earned his first All-Area selection. Alongside MHS senior Tyler Husar Husar, Mahoney helped the Cougars place third in the team standings at both the Skyland Conference Championships and the Central Jersey, Group 4 meet. Mahoney placed 10th at the conference championships and ran 16:52.80 at Thompson Park to place eighth at sectionals in October.

During the Group 4 championships in November, Mahoney ran 16:57 at Holmdel Park to qualify for the Meet of Champions. Mahoney says teamwork, and especially his friends PJ Dauer and Ishaan Soppimath, played a huge role in not just his running career, but also in shaping who he is today. Montgomery competes in Central Jersey Group 4, which is highly competitive. The day of the big meet, Mahoney said he remembers feeling unbelievably nervous and tense until he caught a glimpse of his teammates cheering for him and his teammate Habib Oberoi.

Apart from the team victories, Mahoney finished his XC career as the 6th fastest Montgomery runner of all time at the historic Holmdel course—a course that has been run for 50 years, and since people first started running XC in New Jersey. Additionally, he is currently the 3rd fastest Montgomery runner of all time in the indoor 1600m, with a time of 4:30.59, only 1.99 seconds slower than the record-holder.


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