Already the owner of three school track records, Matt Hodge has already cemented his legacy as one of the Valley High School’s top sprinters. With the track and field postseason quickly approaching, he’s gearing up for yet another run to a state championship.
He just had one thing to take care of first.
On Wednesday, Hodge signed his letter of intent to run next year at Wittenberg. He says he chose the Tigers over other schools like Rio Grande University, Lipscomb University and Union College.
“Matt is an extremely fast and athletic kid,” said Valley track coach Jason Fell. “He’s really trying to get better. He’s taking things very seriously.”
Hodge’s strength comes on the hurdles. He holds the Valley record in his favorite event, the 110-meter hurdles, as well as the 300-meter hurdles. He hopes to continue running hurdles at Wittenberg, but is open to trying different events with his new squad.
College always presents new challenges, and this is certainly true in the world of track and field. In high school, hurdlers jump over 39 inch barriers. In college, hurdles increase to 42 inches. Hodge sees the taller hurdles as another opportunity to succeed.
“I feel that if I just work over the summer, it won’t be a big problem,” he said.
Hodge, who placed in the 300-meter hurdles in the 2012 State Championship, has just a few opportunities left to climb the podium in his high school career. Both he and Fell hope to see him on the top step on June 7.
“He’s going to run the 110-meter hurdles, the 300-meter hurdles and be on the 4x100 relay team,” said Fell. “We expect big things from him in terms of advancing in the 110 hurdles and the 300 hurdles. He’s really striving and pushing to make the podium.”
But what does Hodge expect to do with his time left in purple and gold?
“I’m looking to get in the 14.2 range in the 110 hurdles, and I just want to make it top three in state in the 110 and the 300,” he said.
With his college picked and goals set, there’s only one thing left for Hodge to do: Run.
Alex Hider can be reached at 353-3101, ext 294, or on Twitter @PDTSportsWriter