EDINBURG (KVEO) — The 400-meter dash is no easy task, but UTRGV 400-meter sprinter Yariel Matute has never had anything easy.
A Rio Grande Valley native and alumnus of Juarez-Lincoln High School, Matute shined on the track, qualifying and competing at the state competition during his time as a Husky.
His talent earned him an opportunity to compete at the collegiate level, becoming the first member of his family to pursue post-secondary education.
“[My mom] never really went to college. She barely went to high school. My dad was never in the picture,” Matute said. “It’s really just been me on my own trying to grind it out.”
Matute outperformed expectations.
On the track, Matute earned numerous accolades, including a silver and gold medal in the 400-meter dash and 4X400 meter relay, respectively, at this year’s Western Athletic Conference championships.
He also competed as a member of a record-breaking Honduran relay team on the international stage.
“I might be selected to run for [Honduras] at the Olympics,” Matute explained. “But after this year, after 2021, I can guarantee that I won’t ever put on spikes again.”
Matute has other plans.
Off the track, Matute finished his bachelor’s degree with a grade point average (GPA) just shy of the 3.5-honor mark.
“I used that as motivation,” Matute said.
The COVID-19 pandemic granted Matute and other collegiate athletes another year of eligibility. Matute used his extra year on the track as an opportunity to continue his education, completing his Master’s degree with a perfect 4.0 GPA.
“At the end of the day, it’s about how much you want it,” Matute explained. “I think in the near future, I’ll either be studying for my LSAT or applying for a Ph.D.”
Matute is leaning toward law school, hoping to help alleviate many of the injustices he sees in the world.
Regardless of his decision, Matute has earned opportunities far beyond the finish line.