The newest commit of the 2017 graduating class, comes out of Leon High School in Tallahassee, FL. Matthew Cashin, who finished 8th in 3A at the FHSAA Cross Country Finals, will be heading down I-10 to run for the University of North Florida. We caught up with Cashin to talk about his high school career and what the future holds.
What was your most memorable race/moment?
My most memorable race would have to be the 3A Region 1 meet in 2015 at Alligator Lake. I remember going into that race just wanting to score as few points as I could for the team in order for us to make it to the state meet again and thinking how crazy it would be to win regionals, considering the great teams in the region like Creekside, Chiles, Bartram Trail, and Niceville. I couldn't believe it when I crossed the finish line first and saw my mom at the end of the chute waiting to see me. That race is one of the few that I can still replay in my head and remember almost exactly what happened.
Who would you consider your biggest competition over your four years?
With Chiles being just across town and even training in the same area, we get to know each other pretty well and compete against each other very often. The success that they've had while I have been in high school has created a great atmosphere for friendly competition.
What was your greatest accomplishment?
My greatest accomplishment was being named Big Bend Cross Country Runner of the Year in 2015. Going into my junior cross country season, I didn't even think about winning runner of the year or winning any races. I ended up having a really consistent year with really tough workouts alongside my training partner, Adam Wallenfelsz, and it resulted in a win at districts and regionals and a fourth place finish at state. Winning that award after the season is something that I will never forget.
(Cashin was 4th at the 3A Cross Country Finals in 2015.)
If you could do it all over again what would you change about your running career in high school?
Honestly, there is nothing that I feel that I need to go back and change. Everything that I have been through and the experiences I had are what make me who I am today.
What will you miss the most?
I will miss the annual team Cabin Trip that Leon takes every year. I remember going on the cabin trip before my freshman year and it really helped me get to know everyone on the team, especially the teammates that I might not run with daily and not be able to talk to during our runs. That one week near the end of summer each year with everyone on our team in a cabin in Georgia with coach and a few parents creates so many memories and great team experiences that I will miss it very much.
What advice you would give to younger athletes?
Even when things are tough, when you might be coming back from illness or injury or just in a slump, it will all get better if you stay optimistic and put in the work. Don't wish your time away either. Work hard and make the most out of your time in high school because college will be here before you know it.
What influence has your coach had with respect to your performance and overall life goals?
I have been so fortunate to have Coach Wills as my coach for my four years at Leon. He is always there for us at practice throughout the year, wanting to make us better runners. He always knows exactly what to do in tough situations. He knows when to lighten the mood and get us to laugh and when it is time to get serious and get us focused on running our race.
What are your college plans?
I plan to major in mechanical engineering at the University of North Florida, as well as compete in cross country and track.
Who would you like to say thank you to?
I would like to thank my parents for helping me through the process of searching for and looking at different colleges that I could go to, as well as assisting me while I contacted coaches. Coach Wills for always being at practice and coaching us, especially during the summer when many people might want to stay home and enjoy the time off. And then Coach Pigg, Coach Cooke, and Coach McFarlane for giving me the opportunity to run at UNF and answering all the questions I had during the recruiting process.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
By The Numbers (Personal Records)
- 1600m - 4:39.30
- 3200m - 9:31.74
- 5K (xc) - 15:56.50