Track & Field Athlete To Watch: Kristan Matison
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  04/22/2005
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

April 22, 2005

by Andrea Winter

Freshman Kristan Matison

By looking at Kristan Matison's times this season, one would never guess that her first passion wasn't track. One of the Mountain West Conference's top rookie sprinters this year, Matison needed a little gentle prodding to launch her now promising track career.

"I really liked soccer, but when my brother wanted to do track, my dad made me do it with him," Matison said, chuckling. "He told me that it would make me quicker for soccer and I ended up liking it."

Matison has been a track sprinter ever since, giving up soccer her freshman year in high school to focus on the 100, 200, and 400-meter sprints. "I definitely like the 200 the best because I have a better body for it - I'm too tall for the 100," said the 5-8 freshman.

The San Diego native said when it came to selecting a college, UNM wasn't an easy choice. "My dad graduated from here and financially it was the best choice, and it helped my parents out a lot," Matison said.

Matison's father, René, was an All-American sprinter in the 100-yard dash and 440-yard relay, and was drafted as a wide receiver by the Dallas Cowboys in 1969. He also shares the record for the fastest 100 yard dash in UNM history. Matison said that her coaches and teammates have called her "child prodigy," but that she does not let those expectations get to her.

"I don't know if I'll ever live up to that, but I just do the best I can and try to make the smallest impact on my team," Matison said.

Matison said her dad has been her biggest inspiration on the track. "He loves it. I think my dad is proud of me, no matter what I do but he does enjoy watching me [sprint] and is glad that I'm here running at his alma mater," Matison said.

The freshman sprinter said that her transition from high school to college was smooth and easy, but her biggest challenge this season has been trying to work through her injuries.

"It is just really frustrating because you lose out on becoming a better athlete, the social time with teammates and everything, but I am getting better," said Matison. She credits her minor injuries to the longer, more intense track season, compared with high school, but says that she is learning a lot through it all.

"I've just learned over the years that you can't become so consumed with what people think of you. You can't let them get to you," said Matison.

Very much the team player, Matison said that she doesn't normally set goals because she just wants to improve her times. "If I had a goal for next year it would have to be that we as a team would do better and place higher, especially at the (Mountain West Conference) Indoor Championships," Matison said.

This weekend Matison competes in the UC San Diego Triton Invite and said she is excited to return home for the meet. "I just want our team to do well," she said.