by Aaron Garcia
When Weddington High School’s Chelsea Matson crossed the finish line at the Class 3A state meet on Nov. 6, she never really stopped to reflect on her finish or how far she’d come in such a short amount of time. She didn’t realize she was the top finisher from Union County at the meet, nor did she really care.
Despite the fact that the senior finished 12th overall with a time of 19 minutes, 39.53 seconds, earning her the title of 2010 Union County Weekly Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year, Matson was kind of disappointed.
“I feel like I started pretty good,” said Matson. “Usually I get stuck behind most of the runners, but I got out good and kept a pretty steady pace. It was tough, but it was pretty good.”
But in the end, Matson fell just short of her goal of a top-10 finish and an All-State nod. But it wasn’t for a lack of effort, said Matson, which has helped her realize that a 12th-place finish at such a big meet is quite an accomplishment.
“I felt like I really gave it my all and I didn’t have any regrets, really,” said Matson. “I felt like I did my best.”
The Weddington senior is currently getting recruiting attention from schools like Appalachian State, Wingate, UNC Greensboro and Charlotte, which really puts in perspective just how far Matson has come in her four years with the Warriors, said coach Rick Spencer.
According to the coach, Matson was a total neophyte when she joined the program four years ago, which has made her current success so rewarding for those that have witnessed it.
“That’s what makes it more special, I think,” said Spencer. “There are gifted athletes that come out and improve a little bit, but I like to take kids that really have to work to be good. That’s what she’s done, and I really couldn’t ask for more in these last four years.
“She’s put in 500 miles over the summers and had hard workouts all year long. She really put forth the effort needed to be successful.”
Matson is perfectly comfortable with her coach’s assessment.
“I know I don’t have the natural talent, but I trained hard and always stayed focused,” she said. “That led me to really improve.”
And there’s nothing disappointing about that.