Manternach's 800 ranks among the best in country

Matt Manternach of Monticello and the University of Iowa, shown competing in a meet earlier this season, has run the second-fastest 800-meter time in the nation. (Photo courtesy of Darren Miller/
Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

     Among the best in the nation.

     University of Iowa junior and former Monticello High School star Matt Manternach laid claim to that recognition when he recorded an 800-meter run time which, at that moment, became the second-fastest in the country.

     His achievement, a clocking of 1 minute, 46.93 seconds, occurred at the Bryan Clay Invitational in Azusa, Calif. April 17-19. It has since been eclipsed by three other runners, but as of May 4 still ranked fifth in the nation.

     “I like to set high goals for myself,” Manternach said last week by phone. “One of my goals was to run 1:46, and I had it set in my mind that I wanted to do it.”

     Manternach said the temperature the day he ran was in the mid-70s, with little wind.

     “The conditions were just right for having a fast time,” Manternach said. “My coach told me to go for the win and don’t worry about the time. I was fortunate to get that win, and my time reflected that.”

     He said he wasn’t sure how to react when he saw his time.

     “At first I didn’t know what to think about it,” he said. “I was at a loss for words for a little while. After a while it sunk in. It just shows some of the work that I’ve put in.”

     He had been working toward it, running a 1:48 time in a meet in Florida, then 1:47 in Arizona before getting into the 1:46 range in California.

     Manternach was featured recently on KCRG-TV for his achievement.

     The Monticello High School graduate, now 21, was scheduled to run in the 4x800-meter relay at the Drake Relays April 26, but was pulled from the competition.

     “My calf was a little beat up for Drake,” he said. “I was a little disappointed. I look forward to that; I had run there the last five years. It was different just being there watching.”

     The idea was to rest the leg for the big meets ahead: the Big Ten Championships May 10-12 in Iowa City, the regional meet May 23-25 in Sacramento, Calif.; and assuming he qualifies, nationals June 5-8 in Austin, Texas.



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