Up Close & Personal with Matthew Barrett

Today we begin a series of Up Close & Personal interviews with the Lees-McRae men's cross country team. First up for the squad is senior Matthew Barrett who hails from Douglasville, Ga. The lone senior on the team is a business major with aspirations of getting into a business/sports related job upon graduation.

1. What made you decide to come to Lees-McRae College? A friend of mine on the XC team in high school was looking at coming here, so I decided to give it a look. My dad and I came up here for a visit, he suggested I go over and talk to Coach Mac, so I did and before you knew it I was a Lees-McRae student. I found the small classroom sizes, the surrounding landscape ideal for running, and the family-like atmosphere that the team has developed over the years as the key components to why I chose and still choose Division II.

2. What are you most looking forward to this season? I am looking forward to being called upon as the senior leader of the squad and helping the young guys on the team in any way that I can. I look forward to the potential that this team has to do great things this season and in the future.

3. Tell us about the toughest race you ever competed in and what made it so tough. My freshman year at LMC we ran a 10k race twice that year, and both times the temperature was well into the 80s, not ideal for long distance races. I also was not a very good runner that year, so that just compounded the issue and made for a very long, hot miserable day.

4. What do you do to prepare yourself for your cross country races? My preparation comes through the training, the miles that I put in months before I ever lace up the spikes and toe the line for a race. I know that through consistent training that I am prepared to run to the best of my ability on any given day.

5. Who has had the biggest impact on your running career? I can name a few people beginning with my high school coach Brian Robinson. I owe to him my passion and overall knowledge of the intricacies of the sport. Secondly, I'd name Coach McPhail, for his encouragement and special attention to my running form, and for also encouraging the little things along the way to help me to become a better athlete and person. I appreciate his passion for the sport as well. My parents also have had a big impact for the constant support through all the ups and downs and for not putting any unnecessary pressure on me.

6. What is your favorite part about being a member of the Bobcat cross country team? I love the family-like atmosphere that we share, the fact that coach is able to give special attention to all of his athletes, and the road trips that we get to share together.

7. What personal and team goals have you set for this season? I want to continue to drop my times down into the mid 27s for 8k, to learn something in every race. I also want to be a team leader and see everyone reach the potential that they want to achieve this year and the following years. I think this team can do some great things this year. I just want to cultivate a winning attitude.

8. What is the biggest mental challenge you face in running? My biggest mental challenge is pushing myself at the right pace in workouts and daily runs to figure out what will help me run fast when it counts, on race days. Not every workout is max effort; you need to have a balance.

9. Where is your favorite place to run and why? Either Bass Lake or Price Lake over in Blowing Rock, both places have nice trail runs so you don't have to venture out on the roads too much.

10. What is your idea of a perfect afternoon? It would be lounging around watching football, eating a lot of snack foods for about 12 hours straight during the fall.

11. If you could try something new today what would you try and why? It would be learning how to play golf because I've always wanted to play but never had the time or money to do so.

12. Describe your favorite dessert. Plain and simple, vanilla ice cream. I have a bowl of it many times a week before bed.