There were at least two people hoping junior JP Mattern (pictured) would break the school record in the 300-meter hurdles: The future record holder, and his brother, Henry Mattern ’10, the then-current record holder.
“He really wanted me to get it,” JP said. “He was rooting for me, and he’s been rooting for me for a long time. He said it was time for that record to be broken.”
Henry said he could see his younger brother’s determination in his winter workouts.
“My brothers were my biggest fans when I was running, and I definitely love supporting him in return,” Henry said. “JP told me a long time ago that he was going to beat my time, but I brushed it off at first since I had heard it from other guys before … Even better than passing me was getting second at state! I’m really proud of him for that.”
“He really wanted me to get it. He was rooting for me, and he’s been rooting for me for a long time. He said it was time for that record to be broken.”
– JP Mattern
JP’s freshman year of track was cancelled because of the pandemic, so he had to work extra hard to make up for lost time his sophomore year. He began off-site workouts and ran cross country, helping him prepare for his junior season.
JP first broke the record at the Heartland Athletic Conference meet, instantly seeing the new record time at the track jumbotron.
“Our first regular outdoor meet I ran a 40.77 which was a PR (personal record) by a second-and-a-half, and that completely blew me away, and I thought, ‘Wow, I really could get this done this season,” JP said.
In the finals of the state track and field meet, he broke the record again, this time his own.
“I was feeling really good about that race, obviously little nervous but I was really happy with the work I had put in.”
Henry set his school record during his junior year, as well, and has advice on preparing for his senior year.
“I dealt with nagging injuries the rest of my time running, so my advice would be to prioritize his health,” he said. “By staying healthy I know he’ll continue to improve and have a really successful senior year.”
While his junior season is finished, JP’s checklist of goals is not.
“Definitely getting that first-place finish at state is a big goal, and getting somewhere in the 38s,” JP said. “I still don’t think I’ve really peaked yet.”