Long Jumps with Matt Meyer
First-year long jumper Matt Meyer made his mark in Virginia’s record books in just his second weekend of collegiate competition Saturday (Jan. 10) at the Virginia Tech Invitational. The Suhlendorf, Germany native broke a 14-year old school record initially set by Tiki Barber in 1994 and then equaled by Marion Mason in 2001. Meyer’s long jump mark of 24’ 8.25” leads the Atlantic Coast Conference this season and is enough to provisionally qualify him for the NCAA Indoor Championships in March.
The Cavaliers will head back to Blacksburg, Va., this Friday and Saturday to compete in the Virginia Tech Challenge.
Question: Heading into your last jump last weekend, the rest of the events at the meet had already finished so all eyes were on the long jump. What were your thoughts as you were preparing for your final attempt?
Meyer: It was nice to have all the attention and my teammates did a great job of supporting me on my last jumps. As I was preparing for my last jump, I thought about what Coach Eskind told me to do in order to jump far. I tried to execute the jump the way he told me to and it worked. He is a great coach and my performance reflects his success as a coach.
Question: How did it feel to hear the crowd break out in applause in honor of your performance?
Meyer: Of course it was nice to have all these people cheer for me and I was very excited myself to have jumped this far. But ultimately, I compete to honor God and the glory for what I do is his, not mine. I was blessed to do well that day and appreciate the recognition, but the season just started and there is a lot more to come.
Question: When did you find out that you had broken Tiki Barber and Marion Mason’s school record? How much does that accomplishment mean to you so early into the season and your career?
Meyer: I actually did not find out that I had broken the school record until about two hours later when Coach Wheatley announced it on the bus. I am used to the metric system, that’s also what they were using at the meet, and the school record was posted in feet. It took me a while to do the math, but when I found out I was very happy and honored. I am a first-year athlete and wanted to break the school records at some point in my career, but this is really the best start I possibly could have imagined. We definitely won’t stop here, this is the beginning of the season and I know my coaches will help me to improve a lot more in the future.
Question: You’ve become the first Cavalier to hit an NCAA provisional mark this season. What kind of motivation does that bring to you for the rest of the season?
Meyer: Our goal will have to be to make it to the national meet indoors and outdoors. It is a big motivation and a huge personal record for me, but this jump won’t get me to Texas yet. I will definitely try to keep improving and work my way up the provisional qualifying list. It has always been my dream to go to the NCAA Championships at some point and it has become more attainable after this weekend.
Question: What are some of your other long-term goals?
Meyer: I want our team to win the ACC Championships and I will try to contribute as much as I can to make this happen. Also, I want to break the 8-meter barrier during my collegiate career and Virginia track and field is the perfect place for me to train with great coaches. Once that happens, the next goal would be the Olympics or World Championships.
Question: Originally from Germany, what led you to enroll at Virginia and how has your transition into the US collegiate system been for you?
Meyer: I participated in a foreign exchange program at Liberty High School in Northern Virginia about three years ago. I had a memorable experience and always wanted to come back. I also ran track for Liberty, and UVa contacted me back then and informed me about scholarship opportunities and the possibility to run track here. However, I had to go back home and graduate from my German high school first before coming back. Thanks to the relentless efforts of my former host dad and track coach Dan Thompson, I was blessed to be able to enroll at UVa, which had always been my number-one college choice. The transition went smoothly and I enjoy every single day at this great University as well as the privilege to work with Coach Eskind.
Question: You’ve found success in the classroom and on the track early in your collegiate career. What has helped you become so successful? What have you learned the most so far?
Meyer: I first and foremost try to do well in the classroom, and track is my number-two priority. I just try to make the best of the many awesome opportunities God has given me in life. My parents in Germany support me in every possible way, and I have generally been blessed to always be around very caring and generous people who help me in so many ways. What I have learned the most so far is to trust in God’s plan and my coach’s concept. I believe that trust is essential to eventually become successful.
Question: How did you enjoy your first semester on Grounds as a student?
Meyer: I had a great time. UVa is a special place where great things happen constantly and I feel like I fit in perfectly. I did not know a single person when I came here in August, but I have already met so many great people that make up the foundation of what I like so much about Virginia. My classes went well, and this University provides all the resources you need as a student to be academically successful. Overall, I am thankful to be here and look forward to the years to come. Go Hoos!