Golden opportunity for Matthews

Photo courtesy of Michael Wade

On the face of it, the Tech women’s track and field team had a reasonably successful outing at the ACC Championships last weekend.

Courtesy of, the team had reasonable expectations entering the season-defining meet. Head coach Alan Drosky mentioned after the first day that “[the team’s] goal is a top 10 finish” and that he was “proud of not just their effort, but how they’ve come together as a team.”

The spectacle of the weekend, however, was a transcendent performance by a name unknown to Tech fans prior to the start of the season but gaining recognition by the day.

Freshman long and triple jumper Bria Matthews earned two gold medals at the ACC Championship meet this past weekend, as she won the long jump on Friday with a leap of 6.35 meters and triple jump on Saturday by covering 13.08 meters. The performance was impressive but unsurprising for the first-year CMPE, who was named to “USA Today”’s All-USA Girls’ Track and Field Team as a high schooler.

She was named the Women’s Field MVP for the meet by the conference’s coaches due to her performance and added two stellar accomplishments to what appears to be the start of a promising collegiate athletics career.    Earlier this season, Matthews set the school record in the long jump at 6.40 meters. Within a year of joining the Jackets, Matthews is already focused on topping her own bests.

For most athletes, setting a record and then proceeding to surpass it is impressive. For a freshman, it’s a truly unique feat, one that will certainly render Matthews a staple in Tech athletics for the months and years to come in her career.

Coach Drosky heaped praise on Matthews for each of her victories. After her record-setting runs, Drosky said that her win in the long jump was the highlight of the night on Friday, courtesy of Matthews provided a bright spot for Tech fans.

For the men, Spencer Allen earned All-ACC honors with a 7.95s third place finish in the 60m hurdles, while Avery Bartlett (800m), Ryan Thomas (triple jump), and Nikita Kirillov (pole vault) were named Second-Team All-ACC. Kenya Collins (60m hurdles) was also a Second-Team All-ACC honoree for the women.

Overall for the Jackets, the men finished 13th in the conference with 25 points, while the women placed 10th with 34 points. Syracuse took the conference title on the men’s side, while Miami clinched it amongst the women’s teams.

The indoor season concludes with the NCAA Indoor Championships in Birmingham, Ala., on March 11–12. The outdoor season begins for the Jackets the following weekend, at the Alabama Relays.