Here is a Q&A with recent Crestwood graduate Matt Nichols, the Beacon Journal Track and Field Male Athlete of the Year:
Height: 5’ 10’’
Favorite athlete: Dean Karnazes.
Favorite TV show: I don’t really watch TV.
Favorite movie: Man on Fire.
Favorite food: Anything healthy.
Hobbies: Canoeing, Guitar, Art (photography).
Family members: Parents Dave and Patricia and brother Ryan.
Q: Matt, in the fall you finished 11th at the state cross country meet. In the spring, you became a Division II track and field state champion in the 3,200 meter run. What happened between the two seasons?
A: One of the biggest differences between cross country and track for me, I believe, is confidence. In cross country, I sometimes questioned my abilities but in track I started to realize what I was capable of, which has made a huge difference in my running.
Q: Aaron Melhorn of Fairless was the defending state champion in the 3,200, and Scott Hilditch of Woodridge is another elite area runner. Do you think winning the state title was even more exciting because you knocked those guys off?
A: Beating both Melhorn and Hilditch was definitely an added bonus to winning the state title due to the fact that they are such accomplished runners.
Q: Your classmates, Cassandra Schenck and Alan Vanderink, also made a lot of noise at the state meet. How do you feel about being part of such a successful class?
A: I am very happy to even be mentioned in the company of those such as an Alan Vanderink or a Cassie Schennk. These are athletes that work harder than anyone, and I am honored to be a part of the class of 2007 with them.
Q: How did you celebrate after you won the state title?
A: I came home to the congratulations of friends and family members.
Q: You just barely missed qualifying for the state meet during your junior year. Tell me about the "shoe incident" at the 2006 regional meet.
A: The "shoe incident" happened on the third lap of the 3,200 last year at the Division II Ravenna Regional when the runner behind me accidentally stepped on the back of my spike, collapsing the heel and creating in a sense, a clog with spikes. Since the shoe was flapping under my foot and hindering my stride, I had to kick it off and I ran the last five laps with one shoe. I remained in fourth the entire race but was passed in the last 50 meters and came in fifth, one second off of fourth place and a trip to Columbus.
Q: How did you become involved with running?
A: Now that’s a funny story. My family had just moved to Mantua a couple of months before my freshman year and one of the only people I knew was a girl that ran cross country, whom I had liked at the time. The funny thing is that I joined cross country because she was doing it. She quit when I joined, and I fell in love with the sport.
Q: Describe your training regimen on a typical day.
A: A typical practice begins with the entire team (sprinters, distance runners, and throwers) doing an 800-meter warm-up and 400-meter dynamic warm-up. Then each group splits up and distance will either do a maintenance run, a speed workout, hills, or a long run, depending on the day.
Q: What has motivated you the most?
A: What has motivated me is mainly just the desire to progress and get better every season; to see how much time I can drop and how much better of a runner I can be.
Q: Why did you pick Malone College?
A: I picked Malone College for a number of reasons. Malone has the academic programs I am interested in, the guys on the team are awesome, the coaches are very knowledgeable and there is a distance running tradition at Malone that has had a lot of success.
Q: What do you want to do after college?
A: I would like to attend graduate school and obtain my Ph.D. in physical therapy.