Matthias Petterway Had To Overcome Hurdles To Hurdle Again

If you aren't aware of it, here is a little bit of track knowledge.....Fort Bend Marshall has been producing elite hurdlers season after season after season. With names like Kendall Sheffield, Amere Lattin, Jeremy Smith, and Dominick Houston-Shepard, the recent practice of Buffalo hurdlers running fast and winning state meet medals dating back to 2012 should be of no surprise.

Marshall has a new hurdler (who is actually an old hurdler) that is again one of the top hurdlers in the state of Texas.

Senior Matthias Petterway is the # 2 hurdler in Texas and was the first in the state to crack the 37.00 barrier with his 36.95 en route to a win two weeks ago at the Victor Lopez Classic.

Although things are going smooth for Petterway right now, that wasn't always the case. He is back to hurdling this year and back to doing it well, but Petterway had obstacles and hurdles outside of the track in his way just to be able to get here, the two key words are back and hurdle. He had health issues that were hampering his performance and even questioned his ability to continue in the sport, let alone do it at a high level.

He has Spondylosis, which is pain caused by degenerative conditions of the spine. People with Spondylosis endure both pain and spine degeneration, regardless of what the cause of pain or where the degeneration is occurring. "It was my sophomore year, I went to the doctor and they told me I have spondylosis, and a fracture in my L5 bone segment. It got to a point again where I re-injured it again my junior year, lifting weights in the fall," Petterway said.

"I was running out of form with bad posture using the wrong muscle(s).For me , I ran with an arched curve with my back using back muscle instead of my butt or my abdominal, so two of my bones rubbed and caused the injury."

Surgery was a possibility and could have been a resolution, but Petterway was clear that he did not want to go down that avenue. "Since I re-fractured the bone in my body the Doctors asked if I wanted surgery. I politely told them no, knowing the fact if they did put screws in my body I knew that could disrupt my goal in track. If the screws popped out, my track career could've been over."

I can't stop cause I know there are a lot of other amazing athletes who are out there training as hard or harder than I am."
Matthias Petterway - Fort Bend Marshall senior

Despite not having to go under a knife and scalpel, Petterway faced a long road to recovery. "It was about a good year combined being on and off running my sophomore and junior year. I wish things would have turn out different."

However, things didn't turn out differently. He lost time training and strengthening as an athlete. Petterway returned just in time for the 2018 track and field season. His first hurdle race last year was a 41.38 and his first 400m was 52.87.

Once cleared to return to activity, things would improve, but it wasn't without hard work, both physically and mentally. "It made me humble, which I truly am grateful for. In the beginning, it was tough, I pushed away people thinking no one has been through what I had been through. At times, it hurt not being in races that I would've loved to be in and missing the experiences of other races that I've never raced in. At the same time the injury helped me change my game plan. It made me look at races different in the way I run, the way I train, and the way I compete. It showed me no real athlete is an athlete without a rising action."

With all of that an the mediocre start to last season, Petterway still managed to qualify for the UIL 5A state meet in the 300H. He ran 37.55 for third place in the 3-5A region race earning himself the wildcard. He would eventually finish fifth place at state.

Among one of the runners to beat him at the regional meet and state was Marshall teammate Dominick Houston-Shepard. Shepard ran 37.08 at regionals and 37.81 at state for first and second places. He also ran a 13.60 110 hurdle PR for third place. Durning the football season, Houston-Shepard would have a difficult injury and faced long recovery road ahead of him due to a broken foot.

The Marshall teammate positions have come completely 360 degrees. Houston-Shepard was on top when Petterway was on the shelf and down due to injury. Petterway is now having a great season and at the top of things, while his teammate is where he once was. "The best thing I always tell Dominick is that he will see the light, as soon as he fights his darkness. I know Dominick will come back stronger and ready for battle but he will have to face the struggle through coming back. An injury is an athlete's journey to decide who you are. I know as I am my brother's keeper that he will prevail."

 "I was full of adrenaline, so I was truly excited. It put my name on the board where I truly belong. I can't stop cause I know there are a lot of other amazing athletes who are out there training as hard or harder than I am."

Matthias Petterway - Fort Bend Marshall senior

All Petterway wanted to do was get back to hurdling when he was hurdling all the while.  Physical Injury as well as mental obstacles could not continue to hold Petterway back. His experience with hurdles would come in handy and now, despite his back issues, his determination has him back doing what he desperately wanted to do, "I wouldn't say 100 percent, but I can say I am ready for any challenge. I am a person who is a risk taker for any competition with the mindset that I can over I will try."

He is now hurdling faster than ever as he dropped PRs in both the 110H (14.52) and the 300H (36.95). "I was full of adrenaline, so I was truly excited. It put my name on the board where I truly belong. I can't stop cause I know there are a lot of other amazing athletes who are out there training as hard or harder than I am."

Speaking of amazing athletes, he trains in the midst of several of them right at his home track in Missouri City, Texas. His Fort Bend Marshall team is having a great 2019 season as they are on a mission to repeat as the UIL 5A boys team champions.

"We just gotta stay humble and be on our grind 24/7. Each and every runner on the Thurgood Marshall team has a goal that we repeat to ourselves and to each other everyday. So, we gotta keep the mindset that we are Marshall and we must be dominate."

Although having two PRs and what was a TX and US #1 at one point, Petterway isn't satisfied and hasn't set any limits as to what he can actually end up by season's end. "I'm not about to spoil a good suspense so all I have to say is be ready because my tank hasn't hit empty yet."

He leaves this thought to any athlete who might face similar hurdles off the track, "Stay strong because your time will come, which is a quote from my coach. You can't let your mind get advantage over you cause this is your world and you make it what you want. Stay focused because there will be hurdles in your lane, and you are the only one who can get over it."