August 2, 2011

On the Run with Matt Savage

By: Vince Menon

Matt Savage (MS), a native of Concord, California and a De La Salle graduate, is a rising senior who is staying busy pursuing his running and career aspirations this summer. Savage, an English and Philosophy double major, achieved a 3.86 GPA while racing in the cross country postseason for the first time. Recently, santaclarabroncos.com (SCB) was able to talk with Savage about his summer plans, his dedication to academics and his favorite memory thus far from Santa Clara running.

SCB: What are your summer plans and how are you keeping in shape?

MS: The summer has been fantastic so far. I visited my roommate Travis Pederson in Encinitas, went to Tahoe with my family and spent the 4th of July in Arizona and Southern California. I'm about to begin an internship as well as an LSAT prep course. As far as staying in shape goes, right now we're in the base phase of our training. This means just packing on as much consistent mileage as possible while staying healthy. I'm looking to hit my highest mileage totals every this summer, with a couple 100 mile weeks sprinkled in.

SCB: In cross country you ran a personal best in the 10k at the NCAA West Regionals Championships (32:46.87), while in track your personal best was in the 5k at the Kim Duyst Invitation (15:48.42). What do you attribute these successful races to and how do you plan on improving these times next year?

MS: The circumstances surrounding that 10k race really contributed to it being one of my best performances. I think racing for the first time in the post season raised my focus and energy to a level it had never been before because of the magnitude of the event. Also, I knew there were six other guys out there, and we were all relying on each other to put forth our strongest efforts. I think I've always raced better when that team aspect of cross country is emphasized. Also with the 10k, a lot has to do with the way Coach Montoro sets up the training schedule. He really designs it so that we are all running our best come October and November, when the races really start to matter. I just sort of bought into the system and it paid off.

The 5k was really a carry over from that fall, when things were really starting to come together, but then some nagging minor injuries kept me from racing a lot this past spring. I've started doing some different things, like dynamic stretching, that will hopefully help me to stay healthy so that I can improve upon those times next year.

SCB: You achieved an impressive 3.86 GPA last year while double majoring in English and Philosophy. How do you balance your athletic commitments with academics? What are your career aspirations?

MS: Academics are really stressed on our team. We are a pretty competitive group of guys, and that attitude carries over into the academic side as well. We are constantly pushing ourselves to be better.  Coach Montoro is a huge contributor to that culture. He constantly stresses getting rest and he really does make academics a priority. I think the biggest thing really is that I am doing something that I am passionate about and I love. English and especially philosophy fascinate me every time I set foot inside a classroom. I still have plenty of late nights, and my share of all-nighters to labor through, but a lot of the time it doesn't feel like work. The same goes for running. And that's a philosophy I would like to continue carrying on in my professional career as well. Right now, the plan is to attend law school and then work in criminal prosecution. If philosophy has taught me one thing, it's that I love to argue, so law school just seemed like the natural next step.

SCB: What do you hope to accomplish in your final year at Santa Clara? Do you think running will continue playing a role in your life even after collegiate competition has finished?

MS: I'm actually looking to get a lot done in my last year. I will be working with the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics on a Hackworth Fellowship concerning ethical issues within intercollegiate athletics, as well as working on the Ruff Rider executive board, trying to increase Bronco spirit and pride in athletics among the general student body. And of course a ton of focus is going into my last season competing in a Santa Clara uniform. This has been my best summer of training in terms of consistency and volume of miles, and we've set some pretty lofty goals as a team, and I'm looking to contribute to that success in any way that I can. Running has been the most consistent aspect of my experience at SCU, and I absolutely think it will continue to be important in my life. I've already been thinking about running some road races or marathons after college, just to keep the competitive spirit alive. Right now though, I'm trying to totally immerse myself in the last few moments of being a Bronco. I guess to sum it all up, like Aretha Franklin, I want to go out on a high note.


SCB: What has been your favorite memory from Santa Clara running thus far?

MS: My favorite memory of running at Santa Clara would have to be the WCC conference meet last year. It was my first experience racing in the post season, and I was originally an alternate, but found out the day before that I was going to end up running. I'll never forget after the race was over, I was with Austin Jones and we were listening to the results being announced, and when we heard we were third, our highest finish in two years, we were ecstatic. I'll always remember the excitement around that day, and all the teammates and alumni I got to share it with. It was awesome.