Being a consistent top finisher in both district and state events for a number of different sports isn't something just anyone can accomplish. Maryville senior Will Mattock, however, is an exception.
While Mattock is involved in a number of other activities like academic team and being the co-captain of the highly successful varsity boys soccer team, running is his true talent and passion, even if his love for it didn't come until later on.
“I never actually ran as a kid but I did a lot of soccer, so that's where I got my start,” Mattock said. “My friends and I would play for hours, so if I did any running or working out that’d be it.”
Though running – especially long distance – isn’t something that most people gravitate towards, Mattock saw a challenge and wanted to perfect it, even though he had no prior training in the sport.
“I’ve known him since he was a freshman and you could see that he was a kid that had promise, but obviously, he’s pushed and pushed to get to where he is now,” Maryville track and field coach Nathan Powell said.
“When I came in, I thought I was pretty athletic, but I had absolutely no form in my running,” Mattock said. “Over the four years, my coaches kind of helped me get that down and maximize the efficiency of my running.”
With an equally successful older brother, Dominic, four years ahead of him, Mattock got his initial interest for running from watching and attending his brother's middle school and high school meets.
“My brother ran in high school,” Mattock said. “He graduated when I was an incoming freshman, so I just saw him and really wanted to keep the family legacy going. It looked like fun going to all of the meets with all of the kids, so I just wanted to be out there doing that too.”
With both brothers holding onto top personal record finishes in events like the men's 3200-meter, 1600-meter and 800-meter races, the competition extends beyond just Maryville records and into their personal legacies.
“I think people want to emulate my running history and try to run at the same kind of level that I did,” Mattock said. “I think they want to try and be as successful as the group of runners that I necessarily ran with.”
While there was always family competition between the two brothers, Mattock also had friendly competitions with many of his past long-distance partners.
“He’s had great examples in front of him with Caleb Feuerbacher and Josh Sanders and some of the older distance kids that’ve been here,” Powell said. “They set a really good example for him and obviously it’s paid off.”
Throughout the last four years, Mattock, along with other athletes like Feuerbacher, Sanders and other former athletes like Zach Staples, has racked up a long list of accomplishments in both individual and team events.
This competitive and talented group was one of the most successful long-distance teams Maryville has had. With awards and medals coming in at almost every meet, the drive between teammates brought about many more prosperous seasons.
“Caleb was my running partner, so he was definitely a big motivator. We did every workout together, and as time went on, we always tried to beat each others PR,” Mattock said. “Josh Alvarez was a big mentor because he was so far ahead of me, so I learned a lot trying to catch up to him.”
With talented runners like this graduating every year and leaving behind their own records and legacies, the question of who will be the next Feuerbacher or Mattock arises. As Mattock prepares to graduate within the next month, many underclassmen have seen his continuous successes and have had Mattock take them under his wing as they can only try to come close to the same career he has made for himself.
“Now he’s flipped it and now he’s the guy trying to set the examples for the younger ones,” Powell said. As a sophomore, he was pretty solid, last year he kind of came into his own, and this year, he’s the best that we’ve seen,”
Certain athletes like sophomores Zachary Kizer, Garrett Dumke and junior Brandon Auffert, though younger, have stepped up to help run the relays and will eventually take Mattocks spot as he moves on to college.
Mattock said that he has an academic outlook for his future ahead of running. He hopes to study chemistry wherever he goes and while that might force running to take a backseat, he plans on continuing it in his future.
“As far as running in his future and this season, he will be very, very successful. Anything that he’s in is going to have a chance to win,” Powell said. “Any 800 meter, or even individually, he’s the favorite to win.”
As Mattock and company start to end their regular season, certain goals and expectations are made as successful individual athletes and team events move on to their hopefully long postseason run.
“I’d really like to go sub-two (seconds) in the 800 meters. I also want to get our 4-x-800 meters and then our eight in the mile to state that’d be great,” Mattock said. “We have a lot of young talent this year, and I think that we can definitely go far.”
While Mattock has less than a month until he’s officially no longer a Spoofhound, his running history and legacy will be left behind for the future generations at Maryville to try and emulate.
As so many runners before him have moved on to bigger and better things, their overall impact on the school and community and the pride they brought to the team, especially the long-distance team, is something that will be hard to copy.