April 7, 2006
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Former University of New Mexico distance runner Matt Gonzales announced that he has signed a professional contract with Nike. Gonzales, a five-time cross country and track All-American at New Mexico from 2001-05, is the first UNM athlete under head coach Matt Henry to compete professionally. The 24-year-old Santa Fe native still lives in Albuquerque where he continues to train under Henry and assistant coach Art Acevedo.
Gonzales said in an April 7 article in the UNM Daily Lobo that he signed the deal on March 8 after months of negotiations between the shoe giant and his agent, Peter Stubbs.
"It's something that I've been looking at since I was in high school," Gonzales said in the interview with Daily Lobo reporter Steven Fernandez. "It's a dream I've had since I was a kid that I've made come true."
Despite battling a number of minor injuries since joining the professional racing circuit, Gonzales has been impressive when healthy. In his most recent competition on March 11, Gonzales finished second in the Gate River Run (Jacksonville, Fla.), which served as the national 15K championship, behind only Olympic marathon silver medalist Meb Keflizighi. Gonzales was also the runner-up in the USA Men's 10K championship last fall in Mobile, Ala., earning him a spot on the U.S. team that finished third at the International Ekiden long distance relay race in Chiba, Japan (Nov. 23).
Gonzales finished his collegiate career as one of the most decorated distance runners ever to compete at New Mexico. He is the only Lobo to earn cross country All-America honors twice, including a program-best second place finish at the 2004 NCAA Championship meet, and had three top-4 finishes at the NCAA Indoor (5,000m) and Outdoor (10,000m) Championship meets. Gonzales owns both the UNM indoor and outdoor records in the 5,000-meter run and finished sixth in the event at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials.
See the sports section in today's online edition of the Daily Lobo for the complete interview with Gonzales.