Spartan Spotlight: Matt Jurcak


Matt Jurcak is a senior hurdler on the men’s track and field team. Matt is from Olmstead Township, Ohio. Matt majored in chemistry and is now a first-year dental student.


Ben Yavitt: Welcome, Matt. How long have you been running track?

Matt Jurcak: I’m pretty sure I was hurdling in the womb. Four collegiate years.

BY: That’s old-school. What inspired you to start running?

MJ: Like the rest of us hurdlers, I was the tall kid who liked sprinting but wasn’t fast enough to win the 100-meter dash.

BY: Well it all worked out. Do you have any hobbies or extracurricular activities?

MJ: Studying dental anatomy, going to the dental lab, and watching hurdle videos on Youtube.

BY: All at the same time. Who is your favorite athlete?

MJ: Liu Xiang.

BY: You have something in common with everyone else in China. Do you have any athletic honors?

MJ: Most injuries from track and field.

BY: Um…congratulations? How about academic honors?

MJ: Well, I’m in grad school without an undergraduate degree, if that’s honorable.

BY: That’s the definition of a hauss. What is your best track memory?

MJ: Coach Rubin pretending to be me texting during post-season practice.

BY: He must not be very good at it. What is your worst track memory?

MJ: What’s not to like?

BY: I would definitely say tripping face-first over a hurdle, but that’s just my opinion. What is your favorite quote?

MJ: Me: “Oh Ty, he’s such a burden.” Jim Mather: “I hate that kid.”

BY: We need a response from Ty Shaffer. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

MJ: On the East coast officiating a new ocean wave hurdle sport.

BY: Sign me up. What makes track stand out from other sports?

MJ: The only way to get better is to run until you can’t stand up.

BY: Then you get up and run some more. If you could invite any three people to dinner, living or dead, who would it be and why?

MJ: Albert Einstein, Mahatma Ghandi, and Ron Paul because their wisdom and intelligence amaze me.

BY: Sounds like a good SAGES class. Would you rather have the strength of 1000 men, be able to fly, or be invisible?

MJ: So would I rather be Eben Via, Nick Errico, or Ty Shaffer…? Eben.

BY: Nice call. If they made a movie about your life, who would you want to play you?

MJ: Obviously either Ryan Reynolds or Chris Hemsworth.

BY: Two dashing actors for sure. You would have to choose between the Green Lantern and Thor, though. What is your least favorite thing about track?

MJ: Sometimes you have to wait hours before it’s your turn to run.

BY: You must have patience, young grasshopper. If you could be a girl for a day, what would you do?

MJ: Try to break the women’s 100-meter hurdle world record.

BY: Good luck. If you could participate in any other sport, which would it be and why?

MJ: Bossaball! Volleyball with trampolines – could it get any better?

BY: No, actually, that sounds sweet. What would we find in your locker right now that might surprise us?

MJ: A mini Liu Xiang action figure that gives me pre-practice and -meet hurdle tips and tricks.

BY: Wait, he can talk? Crazy. What is one thing most people don’t know about track?

MJ: Alvin Kraenzlein, the guy who invented the modern hurdle form…became a dentist.

BY: Wow. I will remember that, in case it is on Jeopardy one day. What goes through your mind during a match?

MJ: It’s really just a big blur. I never remember much.

BY: I mean, it’s over in like 15 seconds. What is the high point of the track season?

MJ: Running the 400-meter hurdles for the last time of the year.

BY: Counting down the days. Who is the best athlete you have ever competed with and why?

MJ: Replying with anyone but Obinna Nwanna would be an insult to the sport.

BY: Well said. Any insights on the season so far?

MJ: Well, I haven’t gotten any career-ending injuries yet, and the team regularly continues to break our own records!

BY: Sounds good to me. Thanks a lot, Matt, and good luck with the rest of the season!