"That's kind of a motivation," he said.
McMaine is already faster, though the season is barely three weeks old. And his Mercer team is better than ever thanks to the school's merger with Harrodsburg last year.
Now he has gone from being the leading scorer on a team that finished fourth in its region last year to a key part of a team that now hopes to contend for the Class AA state championship.
McMaine and the Titans will be the home team and among the favorites in Saturday's Heart of the Bluegrass at Alvis Johnson Field in Harrodsburg.
Mercer has taken over the track at Alvis Johnson Field and the HOB, which was founded by Johnson, the longtime Harrodsburg coach, and McMaine said the Titans would love to defend their new home turf.
"It'd be pretty nice. If we get everybody there, that'd be great," he said.
"Everybody" includes a number of athletes who starred for Harrodsburg last year and helped the Pioneers win the HOB one last time.
Bigger meets ahead
"That was their meet, and it still is," McMaine said. "It's a big meet."
But there are bigger meets ahead for McMaine, whose first running experience at Mercer was in cross country, where in his freshman year he came upon some hay bales alongside the course.
"He made the mistake of jumping over them," Mercer coach Bill Smith said.
Smith knew right then he had a hurdler in the making.
"Once you learn the three-step hurdle, you're competitive right away," Smith said.
McMaine is one of two top-flight hurdlers on area track teams, along with Danville's B.J. Strode, whom he frequently races against and will face again Saturday.
It helps that McMaine is 6-2 with a lean, long-legged frame, but his success in the hurdles didn't come overnight. One of his first competitive races as a freshman was in the Mason-Dixon Games, the unofficial indoor state championship.
"I was not last, only because someone else DQ'd (disqualified)," he said. "I didn't know what I was doing."
This winter, McMaine took second place at the indoor meet in the 55 hurdles, and he was also on second-place teams in the 800 and 1,600 relays.
Things didn't go nearly so well at last year's outdoor state meet. In the 110 hurdles final, he was disqualified after officials ruled that he intentionally knocked over a hurdle.
"I didn't think so," he said.
New drills, added strength
McMaine's seed time of 15.86 seconds would have been good for third place in the state final, and his best 110-meter time so far this season, 15.59 seconds in an all-comers meet Tuesday at Danville, is faster than at any point last season.
"I'm pretty much where I want to be," he said.
Smith said he has given McMaine some new drills, and McMaine said he is also benefiting from added strength and from the opportunity to train indoors in Mercer's new fieldhouse.
"I did a lot of drills. You've got to have good form," McMaine said.
McMaine also runs the 300 hurdles and has made state in that event in each of the last two years, but Smith said he hasn't done much endurance training for that event, and McMaine said the 110 is clearly his best race.
McMaine could make the team at any number of colleges, but his post-secondary priorities lie elsewhere. A former Governor's Scholar, he said he will likely attend Kentucky on an academic scholarship and major in biosystems engineering.
"With that you can go on to med school," he said. "The human body really fascinates me, and the brain and all it's able to do."
He said he has talked with the coach at Rose-Hulman, a Division III school, but he said he's virtually certain he'll go to Kentucky.
"He's mentioned walking on at UK," Smith said. "If he's good enough, they'll find a place for him."