MAPLE PARK – Over the past four years, Kaneland’s Matt Richtman has become a fixture in Illinois cross country: from dominating on the course to showing the tenets of leadership, sportsmanship and humility off it.
Richtman excelled to the highest peaks of Illinois cross country, eventually winning the Class 2A state championship as a senior, and was named the 2017 DeKalb Daily Chronicle Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year.
In 2014, Richtman came into a Kaneland program that already had strong runners such as Austin Kintz, Andrew Lesak, Brandon Park and Sean Spaetzel. Coach Chad Clarey said that Richtman sought out the top runners and was eager to train with them in order to push himself.
“Early on, Matt’s drive was to find his weaknesses and make himself better,” Clarey said. “The two of them [Kintz and Richtman] had the luxury of going out and training together. … Coming into his junior year after Kintz had graduated is when Daniel [Occhipinti] came into the fold. I think he tried to lead and show Daniel what he could do. … [Richtman] had been eager to train side-by-side with someone like he did when he was a freshman and a sophomore.”