Matt Airola

Matt Airola gets ready to pass Chris Schwartz of Bakersfield.

After a standout performance at the 2012 California Community College Athletic Association Track and Field Championships last weekend in Norwalk, opposing runners aren’t the only ones trying to catch up to Matt Airola.

“He has several big colleges chasing him, including USC, Oklahoma, Arizona State, Texas A&M, Texas Christian, along with dozens of others,” American River College men’s track and field coach Rick Anderson said.

Airola, a 2010 Bret Harte High graduate from Angels Camp, just completed his sophomore track and field season at Sacramento’s American River College.

He won Big 8 Conference championships in the 1,500-meter run, 800 and 4x400 relay. In the 800 trials, he broke the conference record with a time of 1 minute, 49.44 seconds.

He went on to win northern California championships in the 800 and 1,500, and placed third with ARC’s 4x400 relay team.

At the state meet, Airola was voted co-Athlete of the Meet after winning the 1,500 with a time of 3:45.8 (equivalent to about a 4:02 mile), a personal best for Airola and an ARC school record. He also placed second in the 800 and fifth in the 4x400.

“Matt is one of the two or three toughest guys I’ve ever coached in my 18 years at American River,” Anderson said. “He never questions a workout and gives 100 percent to do exactly what I ask of him.

“He is a coach’s dream, a gifted athlete with a burning desire to win.”

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