Meet Matt Airola

Aug. 29, 2014 caught up with each member of the track and cross country team to find out more about them. Today, we feature Matt Airola, a senior from Altaville, Calif. Airola has been an important part of the Tide cross country and track and field teams since his arrival in the spring of 2013.

How did you get into distance running?

"I was pretty much forced. But honestly I was really into sports and my cousin was really good for the county we were in and my Mom thought it would be a good idea to see if the talent ran in the family."

What made you want to come to The University of Alabama?

"As soon as I made it to Alabama, I knew it was the coolest place in the world. I visited a lot of other schools and once I came here everything else just paled in comparison."

What is the biggest difference between Alabama and California?

"The people and the humidity are both big differences. The humidity is crazy. I'm used to desert-like heat all the time and it's really dry. The people are nicer out here. In California everyone has somewhere to go and out here people take their time."

What did you have in California that you wish you had here?

"I wish I had my family here. I miss them when I'm in Alabama. Before I transferred from (American River) junior college I could just drive home and see them. It's pretty hard to get home from here."

What is your biggest athletic accomplishment?

"My biggest accomplishment came in junior college at the state championships. I won the 1,500 meters and set a huge personal record. Then, I came back and amazed myself by running 1:49 in the 800 meters, which was another pr. After that, there was a lot of interest in me from different universities."

What is the best piece of advice you can give young runners?

"Never give up. I wasn't very good in high school and now I'm decent. I would tell them, 'If I can do it, you can do it'."