Cross Country Signs First Recruit, Wisconsin Runner of the Year
Matt Mroczynski signed his National Letter of Intent to continue his education at Illinois State on Wednesday
Matt Mroczynski signed his National Letter of Intent to continue his education at Illinois State on Wednesday

April 13, 2007

NORMAL, Ill. - The Illinois State cross country and track and field team landed its first new recruit for 2007 as Matt Mroczynski (Mer-chinski) of Pulaski, Wis., signed a National Letter of Intent on Wednesday. Mroczynski, the 2006 Wisconsin Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year, joins the Redbird program after winning the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) Division 1 state cross country championship this past fall.

Mroczynski won the WIAA cross country championship with a time of 15:45, beating out Janesville (Wis.) Craig High School runner and Duke recruit Josh Lund at the Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. Mroczynski, who is also known as "Merch," finished in 16th place as a junior and 31st as a sophomore. He earned all-state honors in both his junior and senior seasons.

Illinois State head cross country coach Jeff Bovee is excited to have Mroczynski join the Redbird program, believing that "Merch" will be able to make an immediate impact in the Missouri Valley Conference.

"Matt is a special young man," said Bovee. "He is very driven and wants to succeed. He is a very talented individual, but at the same time, he has a great work ethic. He has a willingness to learn about himself and the training he is doing and how it impacts what he is trying to accomplish. He asked great questions throughout the recruiting process, and could have gone to a lot of different universities. We are fortunate to land Matt here at Illinois State.

"I think that Matt felt a connection to not only our coaching staff but the university as a whole. He believes in what we are trying to accomplish here in the near future, which is winning a Missouri Valley Conference championship. He wants to able to come in and be the guy to carry that load on his shoulders. It's hard to find people that are ready to do that right out of high school, but Matt feels that he is ready to take on some of that load as a freshman."

Mroczynski, who was also recruited by Minnesota, Mississippi State, Iowa State and Missouri, has had success in the track circuit. He owns personal-best and school-record times of 4:19 in the 1,600-meters and 9:19 in the 3,200-meters, with the latter coming in last year's WIAA state track meet where he finished in fifth. For his performance at the 2006 state meet, he was named an all-state selection.

Bovee, who joined the Illinois State coaching staff in October, believes that Mroczynski's signing is a step in the right direction in the growth of not only the cross country program, but the track squad as well.

"Matt is one many strong recruits that we have been able land," said Bovee. "I believe that Matt will be an integral part of getting the program back in the right direction. I think he was impressed with the experience and uniqueness of our staff. I really feel a strong personal connection with him and I think he felt the same way. He will be a big boost in achieving goals as a program."

Mroczynski, who plans on majoring in graphic design at Illinois State, is captain of both the track and cross country teams. He was also the first athlete in Pulaski High School history to win state in cross country.