Lee’s Summit North’s Matt Scaletty has only been running track for a year.
But the soon-to-be senior has natural talent, and combined with his hard work in the off-season with the Kansas City Sprint Core Track Club, Scaletty qualified for the AAU Junior Olympics in the 400-meter hurdles.
“I was big into baseball and I was known for being really fast on the base path,” Scaletty said. “So I decided to go out for track.”
For Lee’s Summit North, Scaletty runs the 200-meter dash, the 4x200-meter relay, the 4x400-meter relay, the 110-meter hurdles and the 300-meter hurdles. His favorite event though is the hurdles, which he decided to try because his father, Mark, was a hurdler.
“It’s just a hard race and it takes a lot of technique,” Scaletty said. “It’s fun to, I guess not perfect, because you can’t perfect it, but just try to get better at it.”
But the 400-meter hurdles presents a different challenge than Scaletty is used to during the high school season.
“It’s a little bit harder,” he said. “It’s two extra hurdles and of course 100 meters. It doesn’t really bother me that much.”
To qualify for the Junior Olympics, which will be held July 26-Aug. 3 in Detroit, Scaletty first had to place in the top four at the national competition in Raymore-Peculiar and then in the top four at the regional meet in Joplin June 20-23.
“I was pretty excited, but I knew I had a lot more work to do,” Scaletty said. “I had to drop my time, I knew I had to get top four. There were three kids that were 18 about to turn 19 so I knew they were older than me and had more experience than me. I just knew if I wanted to be where they were, I had to step up to their level and compete with them.”
Scaletty competed in the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, 110-meter hurdles and the 400-meter hurdles at regionals, but took fourth place in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1 minute, .61 seconds to earn the spot to the Olympics.
“It’s a top two and I was pretty close to the top two and everyone else was far behind,” he said. “I knew I slid in there, top four, easily. I was pretty excited after the race.”
This is Scaletty’s first trip to the Junior Olympics, but it is also his first year competing in the AAU and with the Sprint Core.
“I just like competing against other people, the feeling,” he said.
He is hoping that his experience will help him next spring on the Bronco track and field team. Last season, during sectionals, he didn’t do as well in his hurdling event.
“I hit every single hurdle,” he said.
Scaletty will be a senior leader on the Lee’s Summit North team and wants to inspire his teammates to commit to track.
“At North, you have a mixture of a whole bunch of different kind of people, some that kinda want to run track and some that kinda don’t want to run track,” he said. “In the Sprint Core, everyone wants to run track because you are running during the summer. Everyone just gets along.”