Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Focusing On The Next Hurdle

by Joe Meginnes

One of the first things one notices when speaking to Selim Nurudeen about his hurdling is his confidence. It is not brash, nor cocky; it is a quiet belief that no matter how much he accomplishes, he can always top it.

“I came in [to the 60-meter hurdles competition at the BIG EAST Indoor Championships] with the first ranked time, and I left with the first ranked time,” Nurudeen says. “I broke the meet record, and that race really put me on the level that I need to be at.”

The Irish trackster won the race in a time of 7.78 seconds to claim his third BIG EAST title in three years. He considers this achievement the high point of his career, though he confidently asserts that the best is yet to come.

“Even though that’s the highlight right now, I know it’s going to be short-lived,” Nurudeen says. “I have a million more things to accomplish.”

Nurudeen will look to reach his next benchmarks at the outdoor BIG EAST Championship, which takes place April 30- May 2 in Piscataway, New Jersey, and the NCAA Mideast Regional on May 28th and 29th in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

It is a rare individual who, upon winning an individual BIG EAST title, is immediately looking to better his resume. Yet, Nurudeen is one of these people, and he sites this quality as being the key to his success.

“I’m rarely every satisfied with a race, and I think that’s how I keep on getting better,” he says. “I keep on improving because I feel like I have room to grow.”

Nurudeen certainly has grown a lot in his time with the Irish track team.

He quickly cemented his position as the team’s best hurdler in his freshman year, taking third place in the 60-meter hurdles at the indoor BIG EAST Championships and winning the outdoor conference championship in the 110-meter hurdles.

Nurudeen managed to improve on those performances in his sophomore campaign, finishing second in the 60-meter hurdles and again winning the 110-meter title in the indoor and outdoor BIG EAST Championships, respectively.

In the current outdoor season, Nurudeen plans on making the jump from conference glory to success on the national level. Last outdoor season, he fell just short of qualifying for the NCAA Championships, finishing seventh in the 110-meter hurdles in the Mideast Regional with a blazing time of 13.84 seconds.

This year he will not settle for merely qualifying for the championships, though, as he states, “I want to get there and do well there.”

It is impressive that Nurudeen already is able to set such lofty goals, when, in making the transition from the high school to collegiate level, he was not as developed as many other top hurdlers.

“Coming into college I felt like I was behind other hurdlers, so it feels like I’ve been playing catch-up,” Nurudeen states. “I had to change a lot of things coming out of high school, whereas other hurdlers got to go right with it. I had to change my start, I had to change how many steps I take to the first hurdle, and I to change how I ran because I didn’t sprint in high school.”

Nurudeen made quick progress and matured into an advanced hurdler. He acknowledges that hurdling, unlike other track events that rely purely on speed or endurance, requires a unique set of skills in order to achieve success.

“You have to be technical, but you can’t be too technical,” Nurudeen says. “You have to have speed and aggression, and you kind of have to ingrain them all into one. The best hurdlers have that. Basically, all you need to do to be a hurdler is be a good hurdler.”

As he attempts to make the transition from being good to an elite hurdler, Nurudeen is beginning to consider the possibilities of a career in hurdling. He hopes to qualify for the United States Olympic trials this July and obtain a better idea of his professional potential. However, Nurudeen admits that he did not always have these aspirations.

“My goal to make the U.S. trials was definitely set pretty recently,” he recalls. “Coming into college, I thought hurdling was going to be something I was just going to do in college. I wanted to improve to where I was good enough to go pro, but I never really considered it. The outcome of my hurdling will be impacted by the way this outdoor season goes.”

If Nurudeen chooses not to pursue an athletic career, he could always seek a future in his major, industrial design. In fact, his interest in industrial design is fueled by what he considers to be his first love, drawing.

“I’ve been drawing longer than anything else in my life, so that’s my number one passion,” Nurudeen says.

This love of drawing extends not only into his academic pursuits but also his spare time.

“I draw my own comic books,” he says.

Whether he decides to make a living in hurdling or industrial design, there is no doubt that Nurudeen will strive to be nothing but the best at his profession. Given his past performance and pedigree for success, it would be foolish to bet against him.