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Brooks Matetich takes flight, signs with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

The Bemidji High School senior is a key member of the Lumberjacks’ 4x800-meter relay, one of the boys track and field team’s top contenders for a trip to state this season. And now, he’s decided to pursue speed at the next level by signing to run track and cross country at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz.

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Brooks Matetich, center, committed to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University on Wednesday, May 25, 2022, at Bemidji High School. He was joined by his mother Tiffany and father Darren, as well as BHS cross country head coach Ryan Aylesworth, left, and boys track and field head coach Steve Sneide, right.
Christian Babcock / Bemidji Pioneer
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BEMIDJI – Brooks Matetich knows all about speed.

The Bemidji High School senior is a key member of the Lumberjacks’ 4x800-meter relay, one of the boys track and field team’s top contenders for a trip to state this season. And now, he’s decided to pursue speed at the next level by signing to run track and cross country at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz.

“The beginning of this year, I was like, ‘OK, I need to start figuring out where I’m going,’” said Matetich, who signed his NLI on Wednesday at BHS. “And then this place just showed up, and I was like, ‘Yeah, I want to go there.’”

He described his relationship with Embry-Riddle as “true love at first sight” – a love made stronger when he realized he could run for the school’s teams as well as attend classes.

“As soon as I reached out to their coach, he took an interest in me,” Matetich said. “And then it kind of just blossomed from there, and here we are.”

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Bemidji senior Brooks Matetich runs in the boys 4x800 relay at the Bemidji Invite on Monday, May 23, 2022, at the high school.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Matetich surveyed other schools, but none of them matched the lofty perch of ERAU in his mind.

“I looked at Hamline, North Dakota, St. Thomas,” Matetich said. “But this place was just, it seemed perfect.”

He’ll major in aerospace engineering to start, with an eye toward eventually joining the U.S. Air Force.

“On my dad’s side of the family, my uncle is a pilot for commercial airlines,” Matetich said. “He was in the Air Force, which is kind of my goal. Just being exposed to that a little bit really started the curiosity. But then I researched it on my own, and now we’re here because I want to do it, not because anybody else does it.”While at Embry-Riddle, he plans to pair his athletic and academic exploits with involvement in the school’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program.

“The goal would be to become an officer through the ROTC program they have there,” Matetich said. “And then from there, go into the Air Force and eventually hopefully become a pilot.”

But despite the similarity of swiftness between his twin passions, Matetich said his interest in both is purely coincidental.

“It’s kind of just two things I really like to do that came together,” Matetich said.

Christian Babcock is a sports reporter at the Bemidji Pioneer. He trekked to Bemidji from his hometown of Campbell, Calif., after graduating from the Cronkite School at Arizona State University in 2021. Follow him on Twitter at @CB_Journalist for updates on the Lumberjacks and Beavers or to suggest your favorite local restaurant.
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