Dominique Mustin recently chronicled a recruiting visit for MileSplit
- - -
By Denise Spann - MileSplit Recruiting Correspondent
Growing up in a
basketball playing family, Phoenix North Canyon High School senior Dominique Mustin started running
when she was 4 years old, following after her older sister.
And now, 13 years
later, she's developed into one of the nation's top 800 meter athletes. She's No. 19 on MileSplit's top 50 Class of 2020 recruits and finished last track and field season with a PR of 2:06.99.
"Honestly, I feel
like I've always been really serious about track," Mustin said. "Coming into
high school, I dropped all the other sports that I was doing. I knew it was
going to be a lot different than club, there's going to be a lot more competition,
a lot faster girls and you probably won't win all the time. After my sophomore
year, I was just ready to just step up my game a little bit."
Over the last few seasons, as Mustin realized a future in collegiate track and field could be her reality, her mindset completely changed.
competed in a wide range of events throughout her high school career, from the high
jump and the hurdles, all the way to the 1,600m. With the ability to compete in so
much, the heptathlon could become the perfect fit for the high school senior in college.
seen what it takes to succeed collegiately in the multis. Mustin's sister, Drianna, competes in the heptathlon for the University of Colorado.
"I tried the
multis before and I'm not against it at all, but I really like to focus on one
thing," she said. "I do the hurdles, but my training doesn't go into hurdles it
focuses on me being an 800m, 400m runner."
Canyon senior rose to the top of the nation early last track season after running 2:06.99 at the Nike
Chandler Rotary Invitational. She then ran a US No. 1 in 2:06.01 at the Arcadia Invitational by trusting herself and her training. That's when she began to spring into a potential blue-chip recruit.
"I think because
I ran 2:06 before I wasn't putting a lot of pressure on myself," she said. "I
was really close to my state record, the Arcadia record, and I just put it all
behind me and ran my own race."
Holding the US
No. 1 until well into the postseason, Mustin didn't feel any extra pressure to
perform. Instead, she had a realistic approach: That in order to keep her spot, she had
to continue to produce.
"I had the
mindset that it wasn't going to last," Mustin said. "I don't think of it as a negative
way as in like there's going to be a girl better than you, but like you have to
do better or it's not going to last... Every single time I stepped on the track
to run, especially another 800m, I was like if you want to keep your name up
here then you have to set the bar a little higher."
three AIA Division II State Championships in the 100mH (14.25), 400m (54.47)
and 800m, Mustin went on to compete at the Great Southwest Classic, Brooks PR
and U20 Championships.
"I loved those
meets," Mustin said. "It's so cool to see all the athletes across the country and that's what
I love about post-season. You kind of get a feel for all the people, and all
the amazing runners in the United States."
In the ensuing months, Mustin's recruitment has taken shape, with visits to Georgia, Texas, Miami, Texas A&M and one remaining visit to
the University of Arizona.
In order to decide
her top five, the senior let whoever wanted to have a home visit come to her
house through the end of July.
"I let coaches
know that I'll probably be narrowing it down by the beginning of August,"
Mustin said. "Not saying that I really needed to then, I just felt like I wanted
to... There were even some coaches that I declined and called back. I was going
to take three visits and then I ended up doing five."
Schools that have produced 800m runners who have qualified for NCAA Championships was a factor that Mustin kept in mind. Coincidentally, at her recent visit to Miami, Mustin's host was an 800m ACC runner-up and All-American honorable mention: Kayla Johnson.
Mustin isn't adverse to traveling. She's chosen four schools outside of Arizona.
Since the opportunity to run college track presented itself, her dream has always been to experience something new.
"I feel like I've
already made my mark here in the world of track and field, it's always going to
be my home and I'm always going to represent Arizona," she said. "So, I wanted
go somewhere else and step outside my comfort zone a little bit. I do have one Arizona
school in my top five because it is a good school."
As Mustin takes
her final visit to Arizona, she knows that coming to her final decision will be
so happy with all five that I have, they're all just amazing schools and amazing
coaches," the senior said. "I think it's going to be one of the hardest
decisions of my life. I wish I could have a piece of every school. I even wish I
could have a piece of schools that I didn't get the opportunity to go visit."