2013 Graduate Matus Mydla

(Dec. 2, 2013) When Matus Mydla came to Armstrong from Trencin, Slovakia, in January of 2010, it was the first time he had ever been to the United States. Not only was he trying to adjust to being a new college student, but he was also doing so nearly 5,000 miles away from home in a place where he experienced an obviously challenging language barrier.

“On a scale of one to ten, my English was a six or seven,” said Matus. “I could speak, but I was shy because I was unsure if what I was saying would be right.”

While Matus may have not spoken much in the classroom, there was at least one place on campus where he was completely confident, and that was on the tennis courts. At the end of his first year at Armstrong, Matus was named the 2010 Peach Belt Conference Freshmen of the Year, and finished his first year of collegiate play at No. 38 in the singles rankings. As a sophomore, Matus ranked at No. 24 and then ascended to No. 12 at the end of his junior year. He began the 2012-2013 season ranked No. 9, and remained in the top 10 all year long. His final national ranking was No. 1 in the nation at NCAA Division II.

While Matus is proud of his individual accomplishments as a tennis player, his greatest joy is the achievements he has made as a part of a team. In 2012, the Pirates became NCAA Champions, and in the spring of 2013, they were runner-up.

“Winning the championship was one of the best feelings of my life,” said Matus. “I can't describe it.”

As a two-time All-American singles player who completed his senior season at No. 1 in the nation, Matus had reached the peak of his collegiate career in tennis. When he returned to Armstrong in the fall of 2013, he was asked to join the cross-country team to replace one of five runners that quit. It takes five runners to score as a team, and Matus was the fastest runner the tennis team had ever had, running one mile in around four minutes and 50 seconds. He was the perfect solution.

While Matus had a blast being a part of another Pirate team, he is now graduating on Saturday, Dec. 7, with his bachelor's in economics with a minor in mathematics and is ready to put a 100 percent focus back on tennis.

“I will probably try to go pro,” said Matus. “I will play more tournaments and see how it goes.”

Matus has played a pivotal role in the success of Pirate athletics over the last three years. He is a player that thrives on the achievements of his team, and isn't afraid to step up and help those in need. He is a true team player, and it is that mentality, combined with his extensive drive and motivation, that will allow him to achieve goals that most athletes will only dream of.