Matt Stuber entered his freshman season on the St. Scholastica men’s cross-country team with a simple goal.
“At the college level, there’s a lot of fast kids, and the distance is longer [than in high school],” the 2019 North Branch graduate said. “So my goal was to settle in, get into a groove and adjust to the changes – and get ready for next year.”
Then again, why wait until next year to make an impact?
And that is exactly what Stuber has done, earning All-Upper Midwest Athletic Conference second team honors with an impressive 13th-place finish at the league meet on Nov. 2.
It was an adjustment to run the 8-kilometer distance that is the standard in college cross country, significantly longer than the 5K races run in high school.
“At first it was hard to know what times were good and know how to pace yourself,” he said. “For the previous five years I was running 5K in high school. Moving the distance changes a lot; you have two extra miles, so you don’t want to go out as hard.”
But Stuber said spending the summer with his new team at a training camp in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula allowed him to quickly start making the adjustment to college running.
“It was my first experience with intense training, and it was tough,” he admitted. “But I was able to handle it. And I was able to meet the team, and that allowed me to get comfortable with the team and with the coach. I realized it was something I wanted to commit to. I realized it was a big commitment in terms of time, but it’s something I wanted to keep going.”
Stuber posted a time of 29:10 in his first 8K race for St. Scholastica, an event hosted by Carleton College on Sept. 21.
“In my first 8K, I ran with [teammate John McLaughlin], but at first there was a pretty big gap between us and the team’s seventh runner,” Stuber admitted. “But as the season went on, we started to close the gap. All season long I could feel and see myself improving. And at the conference meet, we were finishing at right about the same time as the seventh runner.”
At the UMAC Championship, Stuber dropped his time to 28:06. And while he was not among the Saints’ top seven runners – meaning his finish did not contribute to the team’s dominating win of the league title – his finish was good enough to earn his spot on the all-league team.
While St. Scholastica graduates four seniors next year, only one ran in the top seven. That means Stuber will have to continue to work to become a scorer for the Saints next season.
“As a sophomore I’ll have a big class load, but I know I want to continue in cross-country through college,” he said. “I really haven’t thought much about running after that.”
That large class load comes from Stuber’s major of pre-med with a biology focus.
“I’ve been looking at going the sports medicine route,” he said. “I would like to work with athletes and help them get back to where they were.”
ABRAHAM ALSO HONORED: Another area runner, senior Raymond Abraham of Minnesota-Morris, also earned All-UMAC second team honors.
Abraham, a Cambridge-Isanti graduate who was featured in our Catching Up series earlier this fall, placed 16th with a 28:27.4 clocking.