Salute to Seniors: Simon Di Matteo (Thornton Academy)

When and how did you get into track and field?

I got my start in running back in 6th XC which I only ran because they didn't offer soccer until 7th grade. I broke the middle school mile record in 6th and I immediately fell in love with the sport. Then I carried it onto the track which I liked even more since it wasn't during soccer season.

Who would you consider your biggest competition over your four years?

All of the SMAA distance guys. Guys like Chris, Calvin, and Zach have helped me not to settle and have provided plenty of competition over the past 4 years.

What was your greatest accomplishment?

Even though short, my only real High School XC experience was junior year, and winning the York county meet and having our team win the meet and qualify for states was also really special. Also opening with one of my first races post Covid and PRing in the 3200 by 20 seconds running 9:49 was also awesome after all we all went through not racing for so long. Also breaking the school 4x800m record freshman year was dope for a first season of high school track.

How has track and field impacted your life?

Track has taught me just a lot about how to live. If you carry the mindset of a distance runner and apply it to almost anything you will be successful. Because that grit that you have carry's onto other aspects of life.

What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?

Right before states outdoor junior year I got a stress fracture in my hip. This kept me out from any real training for 6 months and also created some other issues that set me back more. This past outdoor season was my first season back and off of only 4 weeks of training on 20mpw was able to get into pretty solid racing shape and help our 4x8 team grab a podium spot at states. While this is not what I envisioned for my last season in high school I feel like I'm finally getting back to normal racing and training which is awesome.

How do you prepare for competitions?

I listen to 2010s pop to keep myself not stressed leading up to the race. I pop an energy gel about an hour before the race. Once it's time to warm up I don't talk to anyone and just think about how I am going to execute the race, tactics, race pain, etc. But I think the big thing is to just mentally prepare for the pain, because it's going to be painful it's just about how you react that will determine how well you perform.

Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of track and field?

Pickup basketball, spikeball, soccer, canoeing, backpacking, and pretty much anything outside.

What influence has your coach had on your high school career?

George Mendros has an infinite amount of track and field knowledge. I've had the pleasure to talk to George about anything track, and have learned so much from him over these past 4 years. Also my distance coach Thomas Quentin has faithfully put together all my training plans which gave me the ability to perform as best as possible.

What are your college plans?

I will I attend Colby College in Waterville, ME, where I will run XC and track and field. I plan to major in Molecular Biology.

What are your long term goals?

I would like to be able to continue my success at the collegiate level while also maintain a high level of academic success. Hopefully that will set me up well for the future.

Who would you like to say thank you to?

I would like to thank my coaches: G bone and TQ. Also to the dawgs: Landon, Dawson, PT, Dylan, and Parker.

What advice you would give to younger athletes?

For the distance runners, LSD baby (long slow distance). Easy runs easy, hard days hard, and you'll do alright. Also don't take yourself too seriously. Yes make sure you get the work in and keep a high level of training, but don't let that stop you from having a good time. The most fun I've have with running and most successful I've been is when I'm having fun.