WACO, TX — Eagle Christian Academy's Matthew Mathis is fast, really fast.
“It's really therapeutic in a way... It gives me a chance to really get away from everything, and I am also able to go out there and push myself to the greatest limit,”said the senior cross country and track athlete.
“He’s always willing to give. He really is. Matthew really says, ‘I did it. Is that good enough?’” said Jerry Snider, ECA's Cross Country Coach.
Mathis has set a lot of firsts at Eagle Christian Academy. During his sophomore year, he came to the school and wanted to start ECA’s first-ever cross country program.
“So I just talked to our athletic director with my mom and said this was something that we wanted to do and Coach Snider is just a great coach,” said Mathis.
“The school came to me about a cross country team because Matthew wanted to start one so that he could compete. And I told them, ‘Well, it's not worth my time to just coach one person. We need at least a handful of people to get started,'" said Coach Snider. "And he got them all together in about two weeks.”
Two years later, Mathis became the first ECA TAPPS 1A Cross Country State Champion, snagging the attention of colleges like Baylor and Dallas Baptist University.
“Sophomore year I got 19th place. Junior year I got 4th place, and so senior year we were able to finish it off,” said Mathis.
“It was a surreal moment when we saw him run across the finish line and just have that, ‘Yes, I accomplished it.’ That was huge.” said John Mathis, Matthew's dad.
On Thursday, the school gathered in the gym to celebrate the first athlete to represent Eagle Christian Academy in collegiate sports as Mathis prepares to continue his cross country career at DBU.