MATT VILLARREAL OF TEXAS LUTHERAN UNIVERSITY, a junior on the Bulldogs' cross country and track and field teams, has been selected the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Character & Community Male Student-Athlete of the Week for the period beginning March 27th, 2017.
The SCAC honors the efforts of student-athletes who excel in the field of athletics, and also serve their campus and community.
Villarreal is from Cibolo, Texas and a graduate of Byron P. Steele II High School. A two-time SCAC Academic Honor Roll member, Matt is a communications major with a minor in public relations.
Villarreal grew up in Okinawa, Japan, as his father, David, served in the United States Air Force. From fifth grade to his junior year in high school, Matt went to school on the U.S. air bases in Japan.
“I had never been to public schools and out in the open, so coming from a school where everyone knows each other to a school as massive as Steele with one of the best football programs in Texas was such a huge adjustment for me,” said Villarreal. “That’s why I liked TLU so much because it reminded me of back when I was in high school, that small community feel that everyone knows each other, and you can go to anyone for really anything.
Villarreal is the current managing editor of TLU’s student newspaper, The Lone Star Lutheran, and he has worked as a journalist and photographer for the local radio station KWED 1580 AM and its daily publication, The Seguin Daily News.
Outside of his academic studies, track and field and cross country competitions and practices and his Seguin and TLU journalism duties, Villarreal has volunteered with the Guadalupe County Humane Society and with the Guadalupe County Habitat for Humanity.
A three-year letterman for both the TLU Men’s Cross Country and Men’s Track & Field programs, Villarreal is part of the Bulldogs’ first recruiting class for each program.
The TLU Men’s Cross Country team started just three years ago, and Villarreal was a part of that first season. The TLU Men’s Track & Field program re-started after a hiatus over more than 30 years.
“I heard about TLU, and I heard it was their first year starting up a men’s cross country and track team, and I got recruited,” said Villarreal. “I love TLU. It has been home to me. I’m really excited, I’m a junior, and so I will be graduating next year. So my time here is coming to an end really quickly.”
For the track and field team, Villarreal competes in the 1,500-meter run and the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
“For the 1,500, I’ve definitely been improving a whole lot, and I’ve been impressed with how much faster I have gotten and how much I have dropped my time this season already with just a few meets,” said Villarreal. “For the steeplechase, right now I am just working on the mechanical stuff and adding in the speed to it, so I can potentially have the best race I have every raced this season with steeplechase for conference. Hopefully we can try and get a score out of me.”
“(The steeplechase) takes a lot of hard work and a lot of pain. It’s pushing through the pain. It is definitely one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. When I finish, it feels awesome because, you know, ‘I just did that.’”
The SCAC Character & Community award was created in 2009 to honor and recognize the efforts of the extraordinary student-athletes of the conference who not only excel athletically on the field, course, court, pool or track, but also by serving their campus and community.