Running with Courage, Guts and Determination


photo by Connor Rafferty

Trinity junior Matt Woodall inspires cross country and track teammates with his dedication.

Dominic Repp, Staff Reporter

Three core values of Trinity cross country and track are courage, guts and determination. All the runners display these qualities while training hundreds of hours and covering countless miles.

Junior Matt Woodall never stops the grind. He’s never been afraid of a challenge and throughout his athletic career has stayed determined to become better — on and off the track and course.

An Advanced Program student, Matt works as hard as possible in the classroom. During track season, he runs the mile and occasionally will be placed in a two-mile race. Many runners will tell you that these are the most tiring and rigorous races, but Matt looks forward to them.   

He bites down on something he wants to get better at and won’t let go until he’s one of the guys at the top. He’s always been a hard worker and knows how to perform when it counts.”

— Trinity teacher and former cross country team head coach Chad Waggoner

“They’ve never scared me,” he said. “I feel more comfortable in the mile than I would in a 200-meter race.”

A 200 is about half of one lap around the track outside, while a mile is about four laps. The long distance track team members usually compete in one of three races: the half mile, mile, or two mile. Each distance requires different variations of workouts set by cross country and track head coach Scott Holzknecht.

Even Matt’s former coaches haven’t forgotten his tenacity. History teacher and former cross country head coach Chad Waggoner said of Matt: “He bites down on something he wants to get better at and won’t let go until he’s one of the guys at the top. He’s always been a hard worker and knows how to perform when it counts.”

Last year Matt went to a race in Washington, D.C., with the cross country team. It was one of his first varsity races. This was only one of many races that Matt pulled through with a solid performance and aided the team to victory.

Just last month Matt participated in the indoor mile at the University of Kentucky’s high school track meet. He ran a varsity race and once again performed well.

His  teammates shared a few thoughts on his race. “I thought he did a really good job and we knew he would,” Jack Baum said.

Matt consistently leads by example.  “I think Matt has always had that competitive edge. He’s pushed me pretty hard,” Henry Wilmes said.

Wilmes and Woodall run workouts and sometimes races together. “I’ve always appreciated having him at my side during a race. He’s made it less painful,” Wilmes joked.

Matt puts in the miles necessary for victory. Usually the entire team starts out on a mile to a three-mile warm-up. They then do stretching to make sure they are loose. During this time Matt is focused. He takes this seriously because he doesn’t want to risk injury.

They then begin their workout. Sometimes juniors and seniors will run up to 14 miles. Matt usually enjoys this.  He said, ”I love running in packs. They have good conversations, and oftentimes it’s when I get to talk to my friends the most in the day.”

Matt intends on breaking 4:50 in the mile race, having consistently run around 4:55 each race so far. His team and coaches are behind him.

“I know he can accomplish whatever he wants to on the track. He’s just that determined,” teammate Jack Meredith said.

Matt usually runs about 60 to 70 miles per week. This is more miles than other athletes run in an entire season.

A car bumper sticker commemorates runners by saying, “My sport is your sport’s punishment.”

Matt enjoys all this running. He said, “My life would not be the same without Trinity cross country and track. I don’t think I’d be blessed with the same group of friends I have today.”

He then laughed and said, “I wouldn’t be this fit, either.”