October 10, 2007

Up Close & Personal with Matt Barrett

Banner Elk, NC--Today we meet up with junior Matt Barrett who hails from Douglasville, GA near Atlanta. Matt and his teammates continue to push each other to new personal records as the season continues.

1. What made you decide to come to Lees-McRae? A friend of mine was considering coming up here to run cross country. So I did a little research and decided to make a visit. I liked the small class sizes and the scenery of the area, so I decided to come here.

2. What are your personal goals for this season? I want to run PRs, down to the mid-27s for the 8k and to become more mentally tough through hard workouts and races.

3. What's your favorite Bobcat memory here at Lees-McRae so far? It has to be going down to Charleston last year and hanging out at the beach after the race. Several of the guys, including myself, never got out of the water until we had to leave.

4. What is your favorite part of cross country here at Lees-McRae? There are a few things that I like about running here. The training atmosphere is incredible with the scenic runs we are able to go on nearly everyday. The team atmosphere is great. This is my third year here, and this is probably the closest team we have had. Everyone gets along really well with each other and encourages each other to get better each day.

5. Who has been the most influential person on your athletic career? In my case it's influential people...my family for their continual support, and the only 2 coaches I've had Coach Robinson and Coach McPhail.

6. If you weren't a runner, what other sport would you play?
I'd probably play soccer. I played for 11 years until I turned 14 and started doing running full time.

7. What is your major and what do you plan to do with your degree? Business; I really do not have anything definite in mind, but I would like to someday either help manage a sports bar or be involved with the business aspect of sports.

8. If you could travel back in time to any point in history, where would you go?
I'd go back to the Revolutionary War in America. That would have been cool to see our country get started.

9. What is your favorite band? Led Zeppelin, The Allman Brothers, Frank Sinatra

10. What is your favorite book? Into the Wild, Running with the Buffaloes

11. If you could visit any place in the world, where would it be? Pretty much anywhere in Europe would be cool for me. I have never left North America so I think I would enjoy going overseas.

12. What is one word that describes you and why? Honesty- I like to tell it like it is, no beating around the bush. I do not like to lie because I'm not real good at it anyways. That is how I have been raised to tell the truth and be honest with yourself and others around you.

Matt's Story...I have pretty much lived my whole life in Douglasville, GA, a suburb of Atlanta, about 30 minutes to the west of the city. I have a little brother who is 16 and a sister who is 12.

I went to Alexander High School and had a graduating class of about 300. We had a good cross country team while I was there. We finished 5th, 4th, 5th, 4th in my four years there at the state meet. The year before I got there the guys' team won state. I never ran in the top 7 for my team, so I never got to compete at the state meet. My senior year I was injured, with a stress fracture in my foot, in late August and was unable to complete my final year of cross country. It was disappointing at first because I had really worked hard over the summer and had put myself in position to make top 7. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise for me because I was able to sit back and watch all the races as a spectator. It gave me a new perspective on things, and it was less stressful for me because I really got too nervous in races and put too much pressure on myself to do well. I had no plans of running after high school but that injury made me want to keep running. I had a strong track season that spring and decided to walk-on at a small, mountain school that I had never heard of, Lees-McRae College.

My first year here for cross country was a struggle to say the least. I got dropped on most of the runs and struggled to a 30:54 for the 8k and a 40:32 for the 10k. In track the following spring, I began to turn the corner as I set a huge PR in the 5k of 17:10, down from 18:27 that I ran in high school. My sophomore year of cross country I saw a huge improvement as my time dropped all the way down to 28:45 and 36:28 for the 10k and I actually felt I was starting to help the team out a little bit. Also, I was not being dropped from runs nearly as often. Spring track went okay, I ran 17:06 for the 5k and 9:48 for the 3k, both PR's but not the times I wanted. This year I have already ran 28:08 for the 8k and I hope to drop that by a lot more by the end of the year.