Talk to any mid-distance runner or coach in southwest Washington and he or she will tell you that Daniel Maton is simply on another level.
The University of Washington-bound Camas senior cleaned up once again at the 4A state track and field championships at Mount Tahoma in Tacoma on May 23-25, winning the 800- and the 1,600-meter runs for a third straight year.
He becomes Washington’s first three-time champion in those two events, according to state track and field statistics.
In the 800 final on Saturday, Maton cruised to victory on the final lap, but getting there wasn’t easy.
“On the first lap I was planning on going inside, but there was a guy who jumped out before me and held the inside, so that made it a little harder,” Maton said. “And then the wind was so hard on the finishing stretch.”
Two days earlier, he crushed the competition in the 1,600 with a time of 4 minutes, 6.07 seconds, the best time in the nation this season for the event.
Maton’s Papermakers teammates were in awe of his performances.
“Daniel is going off, which is awesome to see, but me not making it to (the 100) finals hurt us a bit, and I feel bad about that, but as a team we are doing pretty well thanks to Daniel,” said Camas sprinter Blake Derringer.
During the 4×400 relay event, Quinton Patterson, Mason Gross and Derringer had the Papermakers in second place when the baton was handed to Maton, who sprinted into first position right before crossing the finish line for yet another state championship, the seventh of Maton’s career.
“It feels nice because year after year I’ve really worked hard in the offseason, and to have it pay off is great,” Maton said.
‘Daniel creates his own luck’
While reflecting on his high school running career, Maton told the Post-Record that a big reason for his success has been his ability to stay healthy.
Camas head track and field coach Jon Eagle appreciates Maton’s humility.
“Daniel creates his own luck,” Eagle said. “He has an uncommon work ethic and determination. He has created a new standard of excellence for all of us to follow, and (he’s) such a humble, down-to-earth, likeable young man.”
Perhaps part of Maton’s humble nature comes from being raised in a family of highly successful runners. His father Jim ran the 800 for Eastern Illinois University, winning an National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship in the event.
Daniel’s mother Michelle Maton was a four-time All-American runner for Indiana University and won the 1988 NCAA cross country championship.
Michelle met Jim while training for the Olympic Trials in 1988. They eventually married and had five children, Daniel being the youngest.
“The marriage didn’t work out and Daniel’s father left when Daniel was only a few months old, never to be heard from again,” said Michelle, who raised the five children on her own, moving from Florida to Texas to Oregon and finally to Camas when Daniel was a freshman.
Daniel’s older sister Ashley and brother Matthew ran track for the University of Oregon under coaches Andy Powell and Maurica Powell, who recently moved to the University of Washington and immediately signed the youngest Maton.
“It will be really nice to be with (the Powells),” Daniel said
Matthew Maton has become Daniel’s favorite training partner.
“Daniel and Matthew have a great passion for the outdoors, and when they run they talk about their outdoor adventures,” Michelle said.
“We go on a lot of runs together, and it’s just fun because he’s my brother and I learn a lot about developing a good work ethic from him,” Daniel said. “He doesn’t have to say anything. I can just see it.”
That work ethic has spread throughout the Camas track and field program, and as Maton moves on to the national track and field spotlight, his accomplishments and dedication will forever be a part of the Papermakers’ continuing track and field success story.