Running for goals

Clovis senior Matt Loewen finished third in the 1,600 meters at Friday’s Wildcat Relay. He signed to play soccer at Eastern New Mexico University. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth)

By John Eisel: CNJ sports writer

Clovis senior Matthew Loewen has traveled hundreds of miles for soccer.

Last fall, Loewen often traveled from a Wildcat soccer game to Amarillo, Dallas or Oklahoma City with the High Plains Drifters, his Amarillo-based club team.

This spring, he’s been running the long distance events for the track team to stay in shape.

But for college, Loewen decided not to go the extra mile.

He’ll play soccer at Eastern New Mexico University.

“For a first-year program, it seemed liked they had a solid program for next year,” said Loewen, who plans to attend veterinary school after graduation from ENMU.

“It’s exciting and it’s good to see Eastern is drawing from the local population and putting some of our guys on their squad,” Clovis soccer coach Shaun Gill said.

Loewen joins Clovis sophomore Brian Schonberger on a ENMU team that went 6-12-2 overall in the program’s first year.

A capable goal scorer, Loewen shifted positions for the Cats last season before settling in at defender.

“Matt is a phenomenal athlete who will add depth to our defense,” ENMU coach Carlos Elizondo said in a press release. “We’re excited to have him join the Greyhounds.”
Loewen’s athletic prowess extends to the track.

“He’s the leader of (the distance runners),” Clovis distance coach Mike Hankins said. “He’s not a talkative guy, but he leads by example.”

Loewen placed third in the 800 and 1,600 meters Friday at the Wildcat Relays.

Clovis track coaches said Loewen has excellent focus and commitment.

“If you set a training time for him, he’s going to hit it,” Hankins said. “He’s just got a mentality that allows him to run and not give in to being tired.”

Loewen qualified for state in the 3,200 last year, finishing in the top 10, and he said he’s close to qualifying in all three races this season.

“By the end of the season I should do a lot better than I did last year,” Loewen said.

Loewen said he runs track to stay in shape for soccer, but Hankins doesn’t buy that. Hankins said the long distance runners have to trek 5 to 7 miles every practice.

“Most people aren’t going to do that to stay in shape for another sport,” he said.

Loewen said the two sports complement because he stays in shape all year.