Seniors commit to Columbia University


Photo Submitted by Vandegrift Cross Country

Mathis (right) poses with Monte (left) in Columbia gear after committing.

Laura McClintock, Contributing Writer

As she watches her teammates practice from the sidelines, she is able to love the sport in another way. Behind the scenes, she is pushing and challenging herself in physical therapy to get back to where she was. Even though she worries about her future, she knows that she is ready to take her skills to the next level.

Senior Jordan Mathis announced her commitment to run cross-country and track for Columbia University on Nov. 1 after visiting UCLA, UNC, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt and UT.

“It felt like a weight was taken off,” Mathis said. “I had been so worried about where I was going to go, what decision I was going to make, if it was going to be the right one, so it was definitely really stressful. Having that decision made was a big relief.”

Mathis was introduced to cross-country in middle school by her father and began running competitively in sixth grade. Her father inspired her to start running and helped her recognize she could apply herself to the college level.

“I didn’t really realize [running in college] was a possibility until I started competing in middle school and high school,” Mathis said. “It is definitely something I have, in the past few years, made a goal of mine, but I didn’t know where I would end up, even last year. It is kind of crazy to think of how much has changed since last year.”

The student athlete was diagnosed with a stress reaction in her femoral neck on the third day of practice this fall, causing her to sit out for six weeks. Mathis focused on staying healthy and building her strength so she could run in the postseason meets for the team. Although she didn’t enjoy being injured, she was glad she could cheer on other teammates.

“She had to take some time off,” cross-country and track coach Colin Sully said. “She wanted to come back and train with her team, so she took care of herself. She took the necessary steps to come back. She is still working on getting back to her same level.”

Mathis will be joining teammate Anthony Monte at Columbia in the fall of 2020. Both seniors attempted not to influence each other’s decisions, so Mathis didn’t share her choice with Monte until he decided as well.

“It was kind of weird,” Mathis said. “In August, neither of us thought we would end up at the same school, so it was a weird coincidence. I think it will be cool having a friend up there. It will definitely make the transition easier.”

Columbia University has a good combination of athletics and academics, according to Mathis. She is looking forward to studying in New York City and will make sure to take lessons she has learned in the cross-country program with her when she graduates.

“She has always been fast, she has gotten fast since being here, but I think there is a certain level of emotional and mental toughness that, the more you race, the easier it gets to deal with setbacks,” Sully said. “So I think if you are a stud student athlete, you need to learn way more from your failures than from your successes, and I think she has definitely done that over the course of a few years.”