Matheson lets his speed do the talking
At the Eagle Valley track team’s banquet Monday night, parents, coaches and teammates all cooed for a speech from Sean Matheson.”I was joking with him when he came up on stage to get his letter and his awards,” Devils coach Jeff Schroll said. “Everybody was chanting, ‘Speech! Speech!’ We wanted to hear the quiet guy talk, but it was to no avail.”Like he has done all year, Matheson waved off a turn in the spotlight, even though on a state championship team full of stars, he is arguably the brightest.”I just like to stay quiet,” he said. “I just let my performance speak for me.”In applying Matheson’s logic to what he has accomplished in his first season of track, it’s only fitting to say that the soft-spoken sophomore made more noise than anyone in 3A this year.
Matheson’s junior teammate Brad Gamble had just as prolific of a season in 2004, winning four first-place state medals himself Saturday and crushing school records.But, there is a difference between the two.Gamble was expected to be a stud this year, after making a name for himself in the 3A ranks the previous two seasons. Matheson, in comparison, was a no-name; a JV football player who Schroll expected to be a good addition to the track team, but didn’t figure to become the fastest sprinter in school history.”In regards to Sean, it’s still a wonderful disbelief,” Schroll said. “I’ve seen him do it enough now, that it doesn’t surprise me anymore. But, I think the first half of the season I just kind of watched with my mouth open the whole time. I had none of those expectations. The kids said they were all excited for him to come out because he was fast, but when I think fast I think high 11s or low 12s (in the 100). He exceeded my definition of fast.”Exceeded, as in running a 10-8 in the 100 to blast the school record. Exceeded, as in running the fastest legs on the two fastest relay teams in 3A, the 400 and the 800. Exceeded, as in finishing first in both the 100 and 200 at state – the latter of which gave the Devils boys their first-ever state title by providing the team with its last 10 points and a tie for first with D’Evelyn.”When we started that Saturday morning, I didn’t think we could win the meet. We hadn’t scored any points on Friday,” Schroll said. “But, when Brad won long jump that put D’Evelyn back. Then, when their discus thrower didn’t place, that hurt them. I was too busy taking down times to figure out if it was possible, but then (Vail Christian) coach Bob Isbell figured out that if Sean won his last race, we would tie with D’Evelyn.”Schroll didn’t tell Matheson the situation, though. Afterwards, he admitted it probably wouldn’t have mattered, but nonetheless, he kept the secret from his sophomore star as a precaution before he settled into the blocks for the last time of the season.”The one thing about Sean is he hates to lose,” Schroll said. “If he did know, I think he still would have won. If those 10 points in the 200 were the only 10 points we were going to score all day or if they were the 10 points we needed to win the state title, I still think he would have run just as hard. I’m not sure it would have mattered.”Matheson didn’t necessarily agree.”I do hate losing,” he said. “It pushes you more to run harder. Still, I’m not really sure I would have done as well, going under that pressure. It probably would have made me a little more nervous. I would have thought differently.”
In the end, the only thing that really matters is that Matheson did win, by .013 seconds, nonetheless, to cap what was a dream season for the Devils – one that exceeded everyone’s expectations, including Matheson’s own.”I never really expected to do this well,” Matheson said. “When I came out, I was expecting to get like top-eight finishes. Especially, with it being my first year, I never expected to do as well as I did.”No doubt, the pressure to get back to state and earn a top-three finish for the Devils will be tough in 2005 with team moving up to the 4A level. But, with both Gamble and Matheson returning, things still look to be noisy downvalley.Contact Nate Peterson at 949-0555, ext. 608, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org