Matthew Maton, who has won six Oregon state track and cross-country titles, has been kicked off his Summit HS team in Bend. Maton, who was raised in Austin but moved to Bend six years ago with his family, is one of the most decorated high school distance runners in the country and was recruited by most of the top track powers (including Texas). He has signed a letter of intent to attend the University of Oregon where his older sister Ashley is a junior on the team.
Why Maton was booted off his high school team in his senior season is unclear. The school isn’t publicly saying the reasons for his dismissal, but some have said he missed team practices (although he has often trained alone in the morning, doing two workouts a day). Another widely floated reason is that in the fall, Maton chose to run in the Foot Locker Regionals and then Nationals, rather than run with his high school team at a qualifier for the Nike Cross Nationals. (The Foot Locker West Regionals were on the same day as the Nike meet.)
“I would kill to be able to do both (NXN and Foot Locker,” said Maton last fall who finished third at the ’13 Foot Locker Champs as a junior. But Maton’s coaches—Jim and Carol McLatchie—announced a plan last June that Maton would run Foot Locker again and then, hopefully earn a spot on the World Cross Country junior team.
Although Maton didn’t run well at the Foot Locker Championships in December (he finished 19th) and didn’t run in the World Cross, he has been training well for his senior track season, according to his mother, Michelle. (Michelle Dekkers Maton was a four-time All American at Indiana University and won the 1988 NCAA cross-country title. While living in Austin, she was one of the top runners in town. She no longer competes.)
But Michelle Maton believes that the school coaches held a “grudge” against Matthew for his decision to run Foot Locker last fall, rather than the Nike meet. She attended a meeting with the coaches last week, who according to her, said Matthew was being kicked off the team because he was warming up on his own on an optional practice day during spring break and “because he does jumping jacks in a manner that draws attention to himself.” Michelle Maton added, “Anyone who knows Matthew knows that he can be funny, especially when it comes to things like jumping jacks.”
Maton, who is the Summit HS school record holder in the 800 (1:52.89), 1500 (3:49.38), mile (4:03.23), 3000 (8:18.66) and 5000 (15:54.61), broke Galen Rupp’s course record by 10 seconds last fall (14:45) in winning his second state cross-country title. Last weekend, Maton competed as an unattached athlete in the San Francisco State Distance Carnival and won the 2-mile in 9:03.73. According to DyeStats, the fastest 2-mile time so far in 2015 is 9:27.22.
Said Michelle Maton in a Facebook post: “It’s over. It happened. Matthew is going to do bigger and better things on a bigger stage.”