Sports

Tim Kikta is 32 yards away from breaking school record

Credit: Jennifer Coloma/Operations Manager Credit: Jennifer Coloma/Operations Manager

Junior wide receiver Tim Kikta is a big man on campus. At 6'3" and nearly 200 pounds, the towering Tartan football superstar has been one of the top contributors this season and is a critical member of Carnegie Mellon’s team.

The Pittsburgh native is also one of the team’s top scorers, with five touchdowns this season.

Kikta was named the University Athletic Association and Eastern College Athletic Conference Southwest Athlete of the Week during the second week of September, prompted by his performance during the Tartans’ 37–7 victory.

He set a Carnegie Mellon single-game record with 158 receiving yards in the game. Kikta caught four passes that game, including touchdown receptions of 82 and 39 yards from junior quarterback Rob Kalkstein. The 82-yard score was the longest touchdown reception by a Tartan since 2004.

“Tim has been a great offensive player this year. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve thrown a pass and he’s been right there to make an amazing catch,” Kalkstein said. “He also has made a number of touchdowns over 50 yards, which is outstanding.”

Kikta does not brag about his personal achievements; rather, he focuses on the historic season for the team. The Tartans went 4–0 at the beginning of the season for the first time since 2006.

“This year has been an awesome one for us,” he said. “From the start, I felt like it was going to be a great season.” He attributed the success of the team to the return of “a lot of starters” and recognized “the giant improvement between this year and previous ones.”

Although the Tartans had a phenomenal start, the team has faltered, dropping to a 5–3 record. But still, team-focused Kikta is optimistic about the remainder of the season.

“We lost a lot of key running backs and middle backers due to injuries,” he said. “But we are trying to get them back in shape as soon as we can.”

Kikta is certainly no stranger to the world of football, having played since second grade.

“I love the camaraderie of the sport,” he said. “Getting to know [my teammates] is certainly my favorite part of playing. It truly is the ultimate team sport.”

His teammates also admire him for his optimism and dedication. “Big Time Timmy Tim,” Kalkstein said, “always brings a positive attitude. In the huddle he knows exactly what to say. He is always into the game, and helps us stay focused.”

Kikta said that during his nearly 15 years of playing football, he has “grown so much as a player,” and has especially come a long way during his college career. “One game during freshman year, I lined up on the wrong side of the ball three times,” he said. “I tried to convince coach that the quarterback [Kalkstein] called the play wrong when really I was totally and completely at fault.”

Kikta and Kalkstein have become close friends since their first year at Carnegie Mellon. Both had internships in Pittsburgh over the summer and are currently roommates. “We would always practice passing over the summer, which I really think helped our chemistry this year,” Kalkstein said.

Kikta is currently a mechanical engineering major and hopes to work with cars and airplanes. “I would love to design vehicles,” he said. “Right now, I’m looking for internships where I would get to explore my passion for vehicles and engineering even more.”

For Kikta, football serves as a stress reliever from Carnegie Mellon’s heavy workload. From Friday night dinners with the never-ending pasta bowl at Olive Garden to “having our offensive coordinator drive us around the field in his golf cart,” Kikta said he’s “become best friends with these guys.”

Kikta and the team will take the field for the last time this season for the away game against Case Western Reserve University on Saturday.