Seward's Matt Adams completes the 3200-meter relay at last month's Skyview Invitational.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Whether its running or academics, Seward senior Matt Adams is usually ahead of the game.
Though he will not turn 18 until next fall, Adams has already signed a scholarship to run at Montana State University, a Division I outfit in Bozeman, Mont.
Running, where Adams won the Class 1-2-3A state cross country title last fall, and school, where Adams has a 3.93 grade-point average, only scratch the surface of why Seward cross country coach Dan Marshall says Adams is as good as gold.
In addition to track and cross country, Adams also is involved with wrestling and cross-country skiing, where this season he was the best Class 1-2-3A skier at the state meet.
Adams also is active around school. He is a member of the National Honors Society, has had a lead role in two different school plays and volunteers at an elementary school as a teachers aide once a week.
The senior also finds time for the Boy Scouts, where he is nearing his Eagle Scout Award, and for the community band. He also is active at the Seward Chapel, where he is part of the youth and adult worship teams.
Hes a very busy kid, Seward cross-country skiing coach Dennis Perry said. Hes involved with a lot of good things.
I wrote him a letter of recommendation. I wrote that I see fewer and fewer boys that are actual leaders. A lot of girls emerge as leaders, but boys are not stepping up like they used to. Matt is the quintessential kid you want to have as a leader.
Adams parents, Ruth and Scott Adams, were in the Coast Guard, so the family moved frequently while Matt was being raised. Matt said he was born in Ohio and has spent time in Kodiak, the state of Washington, Ketchikan and finally Seward.
Ruth said that Matt was home schooled when the family lived in Kodiak.
He went through the preschool and kindergarten curriculum all in the first year, Ruth said. He just caught on really fast. When we moved the following year, he went ahead in the first grade.
Ruth and Scott Adams said they always wanted to expose Matt to as many sports as they could, but Matts actions as a boy foreshadowed the sport at which he would excel.
He was always a kid that would run everywhere instead of walking, Ruth said. Everyone tells kids, Dont run!, but he would run everywhere.
In fifth grade, Adams started his running career.
My mom asked me if I wanted to do cross country running, Adams said. I asked her what that was. She told me it was running on trails through the woods, so I said sure.
Adams made Sewards varsity cross country team as a freshman and as a sophomore helped to qualify the Seahawks for state. Then as a junior he came of age as a runner.
Runners will choose their time when they are ready to go, Marshall said. Thats something I know and something Ive learned. Its something they dont choose on my time scale.
He did that his junior year.
Adams finished third in the Class 1-2-3A race that year. Marshall said that he and Adams had a race plan that didnt work out. Adams held back too much early in the race and couldnt make up the time.
It was a blessing in disguise, Marshall said. He came out of that chute absolutely disgusted with himself. He walked over to me and said it would never happen again.
Adams set the goal of being untouchable at the 1-2-3A level his senior year. For the first time, he trained in the summer and dominated the small-schools competition. As a team captain, he also led the Seahawks to a Class 1-2-3A team title.
After this track season, where Adams said he wants to improve on his sixth-place finish last year in the 3,200-meter run and break 4 minutes, 30 seconds, in the 1,600-meter run, Adams will do his running for Montana State University.
Marshall, who arrived in Seward in 1992, said Adams is the third Seward runner to go Division I that he knows of.
Hes gold, Marshall said. Theres no other way to say it. Hell do everything you ask, or more than you ask, and never complain and never whine, hell just do it.
He doesnt lie, cheat or steal hes just a good kid. He just does it right. Good guys do finish well sometimes.
Adams said he has always wanted to run in college. He used sports like wrestling and cross-country skiing to stay in shape for running.
Hes the coachs dream, Perry said. Hes coachable, bright, responsible and hes very sincere about what hes doing in athletics, but not so sincere that hes overly serious.
Adams captained the boys team to a Class 1-2-3A state skiing title this season. More importantly, when Perry had some trying times in his personal life this year, Adams was part of a group of leaders that saved Perry valuable time every day by making sure the team was at the Mile 12 Ski Trails waxed and ready to go on time every day.
It was an enjoyable season, but one of the most difficult Ive gone through, Perry said.
This summer, Adams will work, train and try to climb the two mountains around Seward that he has yet to summit. That should leave him in good position to better his second-place finish in last years Junior division of the legendary Mount Marathon race on the Fourth of July.
Matt is the kind of kid that is just going to succeed, Perry said. He has the right attitude and he has had very good parenting. Matt just has a lot of potential.
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