Tomahawk’s Matt Gerber proved to be the state’s second-fastest high school boy last spring, and that apparently didn’t escape the notice of the state’s premier track team.
Gerber signed a National Letter of Intent last Thursday to run for UW-Madison on a partial scholarship.
He placed second in D2 in both the 100M and 200M races, but his personal record times of :10.77 and :22.12 would have won either the D1 or D3 events.
“I think it’s a great opportunity,” he said. “I’ll try to the best of my ability to show they made a good recruiting choice. It’s a great time to be a Badger.”
His mom, Sue, was just as elated.
“We think it’s incredible,” she said. “Matt was very excited to get a letter from a Big 10 school, and it’s always exciting to get to Madison when you live in Wisconsin.”
Madison’s recruiting class was ranked #7 in the nation and tops in the Midwest by Track and Field News. Gerber knows he has a long way to go to be mentioned in those breaths, but actually enjoys his situation.
“It’s pretty impressive some of the recruits they got,” he said. “I’ll be unnoticed, so I can come up and prove what I can do to people and won’t have as much pressure as they would. I’ll kind of be the underdog.”
The Badgers are well-known for their distance and middle distance prowess-and, in fact, landed the national champion prep miler-but are in the midst of plans to beef up their sprints and Gerber fits that bill.
“Their track program has had phenomenal success over the years,” THS coach John Zuelsdorf said. “They brought in Mark Guthrie from UW-LaCrosse and he’s really focused on building solid sprint crews.
“Matt has a lot of raw talent. He’s very solid in his starts and finishes. They’ll break down every step bio-mechanically. He’s got a lot of potential.”
If Gerber approaches that potential, his scholarship could improve.
“If you perform they’ll bump it up for you,” Gerber said. “They don’t give a lot of money unless you’re already world class.”