Student-Athlete Strives for Success

November 17, 2021

While attending Susquehannock, junior student athlete Matt O’Brien works hard on both the cross country course and in the classroom. 

O’Brien runs both cross country and track and field, is involved in the Chorus and Orchestra and takes high level classes.

Managing all of his in school activities and extracurriculars can be difficult, but O’Brien finds a way to complete each task and be successful. 

“It is definitely difficult [balancing harder classes with practices], but after practices, when I get home, I knock out my homework and stay on top of it,”  O’Brien said. “I even try to get ahead on work.”

O’Brien competed in the State championship for Cross Country and finished in 4th place with a time of 16:81. O’Brien was recently named 1st Team All-State by the Pennsylvania Track and Field Coaches. Photograph by @mattobrien via Instagram

Managing his time efficiently allows him to practice more and work hard. 

“I run 6 to 7 days a week and lift at least 2 to 3 times a week,” O’Brien said. “I am consistently working out, putting in the hard work, and putting in the miles.”

The hardwork and dedication allowed him to improve from 25th place in the State Championship for cross country, to then finishing in 4th place this past season.

Matt O’Brien and Nathaniel Coggins pose with their coaches after receiving their medals at the state cross country meet in Hershey on Nov. 6. O’Brien finished in 4th place while Coggins placed 21st. Photograph Courtesy of @SuskyWarriors via Twitter

Cross country and track coach Jim Lebo recognizes O´Brien as a distance runner in both sports. 

“He works hard,” Lebo said. “Oftentimes during the cross country season, he would ask to run extra miles. He’s motivated. Being a distance runner is not just running for the season, it is kind of a lifestyle.”

O’Brien works hard during practice, and outside of practice, in order to motivate himself and his teammates. 

Junior girl cross country runner Nicole Dauberman made it to the postseason with O’Brien this past season. 

As Dauberman and O’Brien practice with one another, it is apparent that he looks out for his team. 

Matt impacts the team by always going and encouraging …everyone on all the time,” Dauberman said.“If a teammate needs help breaking a PR, he will always be up to run with them and help them achieve their goals.He is always cheering everyone on during the extra tough days and saying that we can get through it. He …helps wherever he can.”

Not only does Dauberman believe O’Brien is a team player, Lebo sees it as well.

Cross Country coach, Jim Lebo, and O’Brien pose for a picture after O’Brien receives his medal from the State Championships. Photograph via @mattobrien on Instagram.

“I like that he keeps the team perspective in mind,” Lebo said. “I think everyone has their moments where they understand that they’re good and for the most part, we keep him grounded in that regard. This is not an individual sport.We want to take as many people as we can to states. Everyone runs the same event. We just have to keep getting better, and Matt has helped with that.”

O’Brien brings a lot to the team, and as he has time to prepare for his final season, it is likely he will bring even more next season.

Matt is really dedicated to whatever he puts his mind to…,” Dauberman said. “Matt is someone who always has a go get it attitude and never complains about being given a task whether or not it is difficult.His work ethic is incredible. Whatever he wants to do, he will go at it, giving his 110%. …He always strives for perfection, and I think the coolest thing is how his strong work ethic rubs off onto some of his friends and teammates.”

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