Beyond the Race
Cross Country Champ Entrenches Himself in Campus Culture
This may be a controversial position for a student to take, but Matthew Markert is adamant that UT Tyler does not have a parking problem.
Part of his position about the issue comes from his work with the Student Government Association over the years, and another side may be the fact that he’s the American Southwest Conference Cross Country Champion who doesn’t blink at running over 10 miles a day.
A student-athlete entrenched in the culture of the campus for four years, Markert pushed through challenging cross country races while also working on issues such as the on-campus smoking policy, University Center upgrades, on-campus recycling and the implementation of the campus shuttle system.
“There are many issues on campus that people just like to complain about, but they never really try to do anything about it,” Markert said. “I didn’t want to be like that. I hear students complaining about parking all the time, but they don’t understand there are plenty of spaces if you’re willing to find them.”
Student Government Participant
Along with finding a parking spot, Markert made it a point to be a part of the inner workings of the university where he would be elected SGA treasurer and serve on fees and advisory committees.
“It has always been important for me to be involved in the campus culture,” said Markert, who graduated this spring with degrees in economics and finance. “We have a relatively small campus, so it’s really easy to get involved if you want to. Being well rounded and not just focusing on one aspect was why I approached college the way I did. Athletics was important to me, but I wanted my experience here to be about more that just running. I always made sure I was involved in multiple areas.”
Markert proved himself to be the epitome of a student-athlete who used his time in college for the future, which unsurprisingly is the same approach he formulated for his cross country career. He would train every day, running mile after mile before most students wake up and before he arrived on campus to go to class and work with his various organizations. Even as he was winning cross country races, those wins were put into a perspective of building for what’s next.
“For me, running is about looking into the future,” Markert said. “We want to get faster and stronger as a runner. You’re always building up for the next race. The next race is always the most important until you get to regionals.”
Markert’s training would lead him to become one of the top cross country runners in program history, winning the conference championship in October and leading the team with a 14th-place finish at the NCAA Division III South/Southeast Championship.
“He’s one of those guys that is going to excel in everything that he does in the future,” UT Tyler cross country coach Bob Hepler said. “He has the brains, values and work ethic to have a big impact on the world. He’s the student-athlete that keeps me here at UT Tyler. He’s the full citizen. He’s looking at excelling in multiple areas every day.”
Markert will begin graduate school in the fall, putting his cross country career behind him and continuing to focus on the future. It’s a future, though, that has been molded by a decision to run cross country for the Patriots and be an influencer on campus.
“I got exactly what I wanted by coming to UT Tyler,” Markert said.
- President's Letter
- Around Campus
- Special Section: Transforming Education
- Focus on Alumni: Exemplars of Achievement: UT Tyler's 2016 Distinguished Alumni & Distinguished Young Alumnus
- Focus on Benefactors: Through the Generations: Genecov, Muntz and Darryl Families Nurture UT Tyler
- Patriot Athletics
- Class Notes