Matthew Porter finished his career with a state title.
The Brentwood Academy senior won the 3200 meter run at the 2019 TSSAA State Championships for DII-AA. He was also a part of another team title.
In his time at BA, Porter won eight state championships between track and cross country. That's a clean sweep. He and his team were on the top of the podium every fall and spring.
Here's what he had to say to recap his career in a BA uniform, as our "Salute to Seniors" series continues.
Want to be featured in our Salute To Seniors series? Email Will Boling (firstname.lastname@example.org) and answer the questions listed here!
What was your most memorable race/competition?
The Nike Cross Southeast Regional was a unique experience of 30 degree weather and constant rain that created a puddle out of the starting line. Despite those conditions, I ended up running a pr of 15:29 and placing an unexpected 10th. I don't think I'll forget trying to celebrate while also being numb from head to toe.
Where did you face your biggest competition?
The 3200m at Eastern Relays might have been the most competitive field I went up against this season. Jake Renfree, Davis Bove, Silas Winders, and David Ahlmeyer were just some of the guys that were in the race. Unfortunately, the weather was pretty bad so no one got to race as fast as intended, but it was cool to be in that field.
Out of all of your high school accomplishments, which stands out the most?
It's difficult to choose one accomplishment, but being all-state every year in cross country and track is not something many have done, not to mention being on a team that has won every time. Placing 10th at NXR put me just two spots shy of qualifying for Nike Nationals, which was pretty big for a guy who never broke 16:00 for a 5k before this year. Also, running 9:12 at the Music City Distance Carnival was a great way to end the season.
If you could do it all over again, what would you change about your athletic career in high school?
There's not much I would change, but I think it would help if I could go back and remind myself to relax in my early years of my career. I didn't realize how important it was to enjoy running and competing and once I was able to relax and run I performed at my best.
What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?
My sophomore year I ran pretty bad compared to the year before. I didn't pr and was running very close to my 3200m pace the year before for 1600m that year. It was difficult just to continue to race and not meet expectations at every meet, but I'm glad I stuck through it. It wasn't an immediate fix, but I learned to be confident and enjoy the sport no matter what the clock said.
What will you miss the most?
I think I'll miss my team and coaches most. Brentwood Academy has been fortunate enough to have had talented and hard working guys and we've become great friends through running. It will be strange to run with a different group of guys and listen to another coaching style, but I'm prepared for the next stage of my life.
Do you have any advice for younger athletes?
I think younger athletes should know that hard work and determination pay off. There are ups and downs to the sport, but if you trust your training and have faith then you will surpass your expectations. Also, it's important to stay positive in the midst of suffering.
How have your coaches influenced your performances and your life goals overall?
My coaches have been role models for me and have invested in my life more than just on the track or course. Marshall Smith, David Hudson, and Brad Perry are the main coaches I've had in cross country and track, and each of them have taught me to become a better man and runner. They cared more about the man I was becoming than the performances I produced, emphasizing doing my best no matter the result.
What are your post-high school plans?
I will be attending the United States Military Academy in West Point, NY and will competing for their NCAA D1 cross country and track team.