The most decorated Barton Community College women's track and field athlete in school history continues to garner accolades following the 2015 season. Lydia Mato, who captured three titles in season finale NJCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field National Championships, was recently named the National Women's Track Athlete of the Year by United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) for NJCAA Division I. The award is the second national award Mato has picked up from the USTFCCCA in its inaugural season having received the same honor for the indoor season.
Helping lead the Barton to win to a sixth place national finish, Mato won three events bringing her outstanding Barton track and field career win total to twelve national championships.
Mato was the talk of the National meet easily winning all three of her events to close out her Lady Cougar track career. The excitement began on the first night as the sophomore from Ghana easily lapped the field in the 10,000m Run for a 2.5 minute margin victory. In what could have been a training session especially considering the competition looming in her two upcoming events, Mato hit the track focused on making a mark. Mato did just that crossing the line in 35:27.23 shattering the 1984 school record of 37:50.81 set by Bonny McCleland, breaking the Gowans Stadium record, and fell just twenty seconds shy of setting the all-time NJCAA Championship record.
Cruising to the fastest qualifying time in the 1500m prelims, Mato easily won the title the following day by seven seconds in a fourth best school time of 4:33.84.
Saving perhaps her best performance for last and waiting with the rest of the 5000m field through a four hour rain delay, Mato took little time heating back up lapping the field for a dominant 16:39.37 winning performance. The time not only reset her school record for the fourth time, but broke the stadium and all-time NJCAA Championship meet record of 16:48.40 set by Sally Kipyego of South Plains College in 1997.
Mato will return to Barton for the 2015 fall season with a year of eligibility in cross country after capturing the 2014 title in 17:05 recording the third fastest 5k time in NJCAA Cross County National Championship history.
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