I’m amazed at how few people know Matt Pohren.  Not as many strangers today as Friday you can bet.

In 2011 Matt became the only Nebraskan to ever win Living History Farms.  On Saturday Matt joins an exclusive list (haven’t had time to research, he may be the only person on this list) to win the largest XC race in the United States back-to-back.  His time of 38:09 is also one of the fastest ever posted in the 34 years of the event.

And while we held most of our Good Mates out of the race, choosing instead to prep for the USA Club XC National Championships in Lexington, KY in a couple of weeks, we did manage to cobble a 3rd place open men’s team as well (Cory Logsdon, 14th-43:23, Richard Eads, 48th-51:09).  Also representing the Red & White were Shannon Stenger (45:34), Brian Bergt (49:10), and Shawn Kellis (65:17).

Back to Matt.  He not only is the toughest Real cross country runner in the midwest but was the 2012 USA Club T&F National Champion in the Steeplechase.  Matt also ran a brilliant 14:51 5000 meters earlier this year.  And he serves on the Team Nebraska Board of Directors.  And he is, quite naturally, the USATF Nebraska Associaton LDR Chair.  Setting the example of what USATF is about after all.

At the upcoming USATF annual meeting in Daytona Beach, FL (Nov.27- Dec.2) our national Associations Committee will release its latest guidelines on the purpose of the Long Distance Running Committee within each association.  It will further detail the mandate that each LDR club be competitive in Association and Regional USATF Championships events.  The basis of membership for USATF member Clubs is summed up in one word: Competition.

And Matt sets that bar higher than any other.  You could never hope to meet a more polite, engaging, serious young man.  But between the starting gun and the tape he is out to crush you.  He possesses a competitive spirit that is very rare indeed.  Rivals my own and when you add in the fact that he hast talent, he becomes fierce.  To wit:  At this past summer’s Hospital Hill Team Challenge we were beaten by the Boulder Running Company by less than a handful of ticks on the clock, scored across the top 5 runners.  Matt was inconsolable as he shouldered complete responsibility for the few seconds.

Give me that attitude and I can make a team of Champions!

Natalie Como demonstrated the In It To Win It grit at this past weekend’s Goat & Gobbler 10 Mile (ish).  While a decidedly low key, non certified fundraiser for Lifegate Church, Nat used the race as a good tempo run for Club Cross, bested all competitors to the line in 1:03:08.  This marks the 4th or 5th local race of the fall that a Team Nebraska female has taken the measure of an entire field.  In It To Win It indeed!

Ten of us gathered this past Saturday for a rigorous, if not torturous set of 1/4 mile hill repeats on the unyielding Swamp Stomp course.  I’ve renamed that segment of particularly difficult hills “Wasserman’s Hill” in recognition of Gary encouraging and leading the charge.  Gary is a fine addition to Team Nebraska both in his own work ethic and his ability to motivate/inspire hard work.  And like Matt, one of the most genuine and nicest guys you could ever share the pleasure of company with.

But I don’t only brag on our Good Mates. (And as my writing is often melded with another personal passion, food.)  Thanks for indulging my reporting that my dear sweet Allison is fast becoming the rising star of the Oregon Coast Culinary Institute.  The program director selected Allison to bake a wedding cake for her, a recognition of just how talented she is.

Alli is as passionate about baking and pastries as Matty P is about running and racing.  A kiss back to Omaha via facebook warmed me this weekend, can’t wait to see her in a few weeks!

OCCI is one of the top rated schools in the country for her specialty.  I just couldn’t be prouder of her decision to uproot and strike out on her own path in life.  A chip off the old block!