CCU News / Sports and Outdoors

More Than Just An Athlete – A Perseverance Story

Mateo Luna is a Florida native who is not only studying Business Administration and Entrepreneurship, but he is also an athlete for the CCU Cougars. He participates in both Cross Country and Track and Field. Luna’s family is no stranger towards athletics because both of his parents played a sport. His mother played volleyball and his father was a runner. Luna got to watch his father run various marathons which is why he started running.

As early as age 3, Mateo was running and aspiring to keep up with his father.

He enjoyed connecting with his father through running and a shared love of the sport. Unfortunately, as a young athlete, marathons can take a massive toll on the body but Mateo enjoyed running alongside his father for shorter distances as he grew up.

Luna decided to run here at CCU because Florida weather is hot for the majority of the year. He wanted a place that had cooler temperatures and the mountains provided a great addition to being an athlete here. However, when he saw the immense community here at CCU and the team culture, Luna was sold. He saw the vision of where the program was heading and wanted to be a part of that journey of growth.

However, Mateo never expected his running career here to start as low as it did.

During his freshman year, he became injured with an overuse injury. His body underwent too much stress in such a short amount of time that he could not participate in races for five months in order to heal. Having to sit out felt like forever. During those five months, God reminded him “not to give up.” It was through God’s strength and grace that Luna continued to run. There were so many days where Luna just wanted to give up but God gave him perseverance to stick it out.

After five months of healing, he started to recover, but every run was still painful. Luna acknowledged that his body was not fully there but he wanted to get back in time to race so he pushed through the pain. When he finally became healthier and was able to race, he was even more motivated to compete from the time off waiting patiently. His coach gave him wonderful opportunities to race out-of-state which he was able to succeed and excel in. As an athlete, injuries can feel like they define you. Being able to persevere through the mental battle along with healing physically is rewarding and inspiring.

Mateo stuck it out and God showed him the benefits even through a situation that he may not have wanted.

Thanks Mateo for sharing your story!

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