By RikkiLynn Shields, Assistant Editor
Sophomore Nick Matson not only led Manhattan College’s men’s cross country team to a third-place finish at its first race of the season, he was also named Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Runner of the Week earlier this month. With this only being his second year and the start of the season, Matson is already off to a great start.
The Quadrangle: Where are you from?
Nick Matson: I’m from Clifton Park, N.Y., about ten miles north of Albany.
TQ: When did you first start running?
NM: I started as a freshman in high school during the 2011 cross country season. I actually only started running because I was not good enough to play my favorite sports (football, basketball and baseball). My mom wanted me to be a part of something so she forced me to do cross country, thus beginning my four years of high school running.
TQ: What was your experience like running in high school?
NM: High school running was an enjoyable experience but it was not as fruitful as college cross country has been. I had some phenomenal coaches, but I just simply was not good. I was the worst runner on my team for a stint so that was pretty demoralizing as well. However, my abysmal performances inspired and continue to inspire me to become a better runner.
TQ: How did you end up at Manhattan?
NM: I received a letter and a phone call from the coach at the time, so I went on an official visit and felt that the school would suit me. I was also drawn to the unique setting of New York City and the opportunities it offers.
TQ: What are you studying?
NM: I am majoring in history and I am in the pre-law program.
TQ: How does it feel to have been named MAAC Runner of the Week, as well as ATAX Manhattan Student-Athlete of the Week?
NM: I was very honored to be selected for that achievement. I hope that I can obtain the honor again in the future. I was also very honored to be selected for Student-Athlete of the Week. We have a very talented group of athletes at this school, so it was a great experience to receive that designation.
TQ: What are your goals for this season of Cross Country and Track and Field?
NM: My goals for cross country are to obtain All-MAAC honors at the MAAC Championship, and to place in the top 50 at the NCAA Northeast Regional. In track, I would like to qualify for the IC4A Championships in the mile, 3K, 1500 and steeplechase, as well as record a top-five finish in the steeplechase at the MAAC Championship.
TQ: What are your plans after college?
NM: After Manhattan College, I plan to go to law school and pursue a profession in the legal field.
TQ: Who is your biggest running inspiration?
NM: There are really two people who have inspired my running, and the first is most certainly my father. Although he had no prior connection to cross country before I ran, he taught me how to work hard and compete at a high level. One of the most important lessons I learned from him was to take pride and strive for excellence in whatever I do, whether in a cross country race or while writing a paper. Having coached me for 11 years in baseball, he also encouraged me to adopt his rigorous work ethic, which I strive to emulate every day. The second person is the fastest American ever in the steeplechase: Evan Jager. He was the silver medalist in Rio and the first American to medal in the event since 1984. I admire his determination after he fell on the last barrier during a world record attempt. Instead of getting caught up in that, he persevered and trained even harder for the Olympics, where he reaped the benefits.