Matson to wear Roncalli singlet on US trip

STU PIDDINGTON
Last updated 05:00 01/04/2014
Jacob Matson
RAYMOND BRANSGROVE/Fairfax NZ
IN THE FAST LANE: Roncalli College's Jacob Matson is set to face off against some of the United States best young sprinters over the next three weeks.

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South Canterbury up-and-coming sprinter Jacob Matson is set for the fast lane in California.

The 17-year-old has been selected into a private New Zealand Academy of Running team of 16 which departs today for the three-week tour.

The team has been brought together by Nelson-based, four times United States Olympic triallist Greg Laufenslager, and he has organised for the athletes to compete in seven meetings.

For Matson, it also gives him further opportunities to cement an IAAF World Junior Track and Field Championship qualifications time against some of the world's best under-20s, with the United States a hotbed of sprinting.

The academy team is captained by Glasgow Commonwealth Games 800m prospect Michael Whitehead.

Matson has been in great form recently. He is the Canterbury open men's 100m and 200m champion and added the national under-20 100m crown to his collection in Wellington at the weekend.

He has had to sacrifice the South Island Secondary Schools Track and Field Championships in Timaru this weekend but the trip to the United States could possibly lead to American University scholarships if he impresses.

Matson will be competing in the NCAA College Track and Field series that is open only to university and college students and is by invitation only.

Included in the series are the Stanford Invitational, American River College Invitational and the Mount Sac Relays Invitational with all the top prospects for the United States, Canadian and Caribbean world junior championship teams competing.

Athletics New Zealand High Performance director Scott Goodman believes those athletes competing will benefit hugely from the tour in terms of experience and also cementing qualifications for the world junior championships.

As it is a private tour Matson will compete in his Roncalli College singlet.

He has been sprinting competitively since 2010 and is happy with his recent form, especially going under 11s for the 100m.

"It's been a long time coming because of a few injuries so it is good to finally get it."

His best opportunity for qualification is the longer of the two distances.

Matson is looking forward to testing himself against some of the United States' best young sprinters.

"I don't know too much about the opposition but I am expecting them to be the equivalent of the senior men here."

Matson said he had been working hard fundraising for the trip when not training so was pleased to be finally getting away. Matson's coach Don Garland said it was a wonderful opportunity to get some world class competition.

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- The Timaru Herald

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