KSU’s Dunlap ready to jump most hurdles

For all the accolades on Miles Dunlap’s resume, it’s hard to imagine that he’s never been awarded for his efforts at Kent State University.

That came to an end last week when the KSU junior hurdler and junior teammate Matthias Tayala were named Mid-American Conference Track and Field Athletes of the Week.

Dunlap, a KSU junior physical education major, placed second at the Lenny Lyles/Clark Wood Invitational March 29 in Louisville, Ky., in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 52.34 seconds. That ranks him with the 33rd best time in the nation, according to directathletics.com.

Tayala won the hammer throw with 225 feet in Kentucky, but won again Friday at the Northeast Ohio Quad Meet in Akron with a throw of 228-5 – fifth best in the nation.

Meanwhile, Dunlap won the 400 hurdles (52.93) and was part of KSU’s winning 4×400 team.

“It was nice. I’ve never had any award like that since I’ve been at Kent,” Dunlap said. “I’ve never got anything like that in high school. I never got student-athlete of the week or anything like that.

“It felt like an actual accomplishment to get MAC Athlete of the Week, rather than the Kent State thing. Matthias and I had a pretty good indoor season together and we opened up pretty well outdoor, too. It was cool. It was the two of us in the same week, especially what we did in high school and what we’ve done in college so far. It was an honor.”

“And for two kids from McDonald, Ohio to sweep that honor is humbling,” Tayala said.

However, Dunlap’s career at Kent State didn’t start the way he envisioned.

He was thrust into the decathlon – 10 events in two days.

The 100-meter dash, long jump, shot put, high jump and 400 on day one. The 110 hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1,500 the following day.

You see, the 2011 McDonald High School graduate had experience in the 110 and 300 hurdles, long jump, 100 and 400. He had the athletic ability to do the rest, but there was something wrong.

Dunlap didn’t bring his athletic prowess to Kent to be a utility man.

This was the same athlete that tag teamed with Tayala to vault McDonald to the 2011 Division III boys state high school track and field championship.

He’s went back to his roots. Dunlap runs the 100, 200 and 400, along with the 4×100 and 4×400 for the Golden Flashes.

“I’m better at the open sprint events than I ever would be in the decathlon,” he said.

Dunlap has had his fair share of setbacks as well. He tore his meniscus doing the long jump his first year.

“I bounced back really quick,” he said.

Last year, Dunlap sprained his Achilles’ tendon.

“I came down wrong on my foot, on my heel rather than my toe,” Dunlap said.

He was out for about six weeks.

“I couldn’t do anything, really,” he said.

After a month and a half of rest, Dunlap was back training. He only had about a month to prove himself to try to qualify for outdoor regionals. He went to NCAA East Regionals in the 400 hurdles.

“I was surprised I ended up 52.1 outdoors because I had like four weeks of training,” Dunlap said.

Tayala saw Dunlap dedicate himself during the offseason.

“After he was injured, that kind of had him out for a while. But, it made him work even harder in the summer and fall and made him a smarter athlete in the long run because he always goes to the trainer to help prevent any more injuries,” Tayala said.

Dunlap wants to do better than last year’s appearance in the NCAA East Regional semifinals in the 400 hurdles. He wants to make it to nationals in Oregon and win a MAC title as well.

“Make sure I hit my regional mark to get me down to Florida (regionals),” Dunlap said. “I want to get to Eugene. If I get to Eugene, I think I’ll have a chance to get All-American.”