Track star Mahler tunes into Austin atmosphere


The Texas track season shifts to Ames, Iowa this weekend for the Big 12 Indoor Championships. Mahler will be among the Longhorn athletes competing in the event.

Photo Credit: Rachel Zein | Daily Texan Staff

A pregnant woman and the soon-to-be father of her child lay asleep one night. Neither of them knew the sex of the baby, as is custom in Native American tradition. Suddenly, the man woke up from his dream.

“It’s going to be a boy,” he said. “And his name is going to be Wolf.”

More than 20 years later, redshirt junior Wolf Mahler doesn’t run with the animal who holds his namesake, but he does run with a herd of Longhorns.

Mahler is a key member on the Texas track and field team and is one of the top athletes in the nation in the heptathlon. Track accounts for much of Mahler’s fervor in life, but it certainly isn’t his only preoccupation.

Mahler’s family spent 10 years living in Nashville, Tenn., where his parents pursued their dream of being major-label recording artists. Not surprisingly, music has been a major influence in his life. “I’ve just always been a musician,” Mahler said. “I started out playing drums, then I started playing piano, and now I pretty much just play guitar and sing.”

Mahler and his family later moved to Belton, Texas, where he simultaneously worked toward his two passions: track and music.

Austin’s music scene had an impact on Mahler’s decision to become a Longhorn. However, being just an hour drive from the “Live Music Capital of the World,” he was well familiar with it before making the commitment.

“I’ve played (at the South by Southwest festival) three times,” Mahler said. “I’ve actually played it once before I even came here. (My high school band) won a local competition and got a chance to play there.”

Not much has changed for Mahler since then. He’s performed on Sixth Street a handful of times and started a YouTube channel to share some of his recordings. And, of course, Mahler still enjoys competing in track. However, it hasn’t been as easy as he initially anticipated.

“Last year I fractured my calcaneus and tore my plantar fascia,” Mahler said. “Pretty much my heel was just messed up after my indoor season.”

Mahler knew how important it was to rehabilitate his injuries, and took time off to make a full recovery. He was redshirted for the outdoor season, rested during the summer, and took his time coming back this season — something a track star is never used to.

However, Mahler’s patience has paid off. His season-best score of 5654 points at the Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational ranks as the top performance in the Big 12 and No. 14 nationally.

“It hasn’t always been easy for him, but he never gives up,” head coach Mario Sategna said. “I can’t say enough about him.”

Mahler said he intends on delivering dominant performances the rest of the season. His goal is for his group to take first, second and third place at the Big 12 Indoor Championships in Ames, Iowa, this weekend.

Mahler said he doesn’t know what song he would celebrate to if he were to win the heptathlon. Given his musical prowess, he might just end up listening to his own.

“I’ll probably have to write one, I don’t know,” Mahler said.