Sports Spotlight: Matt Gotta - KMOT.COM - Minot, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Sports Spotlight: Matt Gotta

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Good distance runners and Bismarck High seem to go hand in hand. After another successful cross country season, the Demons are just days away from having the chance to capture an 11th-straight boys track title. On this years team there's a senior looking to leave his own legacy at BHS.

In some sports running laps is a punishment. On the track it's just another day.

"After a while it just becomes part of your life. You do it for a couple of years then it becomes a chore. Once you get used to it, it's not when you are going to run, it's you know you are going to run," says senior Matt Gotta.

Demons senior Matt Gotta has been one of the top runners in the state this year. Distance running for Gotta dates back to elementary gym class.

"My gym teacher, Mr. Weinberg, in elementary school got me out for some cross country races and I thought I was pretty good so I kept doing it, and here I am," says Gotta.

Pretty good is right. This past fall Gotta was the Class A cross country champion and was named the Gatorade Cross Country Athlete of the year.

"I think the big thing for him is he has gotten serious. He has done the work. In distance running that is not easy. It's a lot of miles. It's working hard when no body is watching, it's getting after it in the winter time when conditions aren't very good," says BHS's co-head coach Darrell Anderson.

The work has been put in, but the time in the lime light has been short for Gotta running in the shadow of perhaps the best in North Dakota history, Jake Leingang.

"He is definitely someone to inspire to. You could never beat him actually. You were always number two, but once he is gone everybody has to step up, fill a spot and I think that is going to make state a lot harder because everybody is going for the number one spot," says Gotta.

"To see what Jake went through, and how he behaved and acted, and how he trained and how he raced. You learn a great deal from that," says Anderson.

Gotta may not be a national phenom, but he's still fast, and has one final meet this weekend as a Demon.

"He has done a heck of a job, I'm pretty proud of him," says Anderson.

Whether it's a lap or a mile hard work can take you anywhere.

Gotta has the top time in the 3,200 heading into the state meet which begins on Friday at the Community Bowl.
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