Accolades abound for Kelly Matheson

By Kris Kotarski

There are two distinct sets of stereotypes associated with students; the bulky idiotic jock and the ever-reading bookworm. Even though we both know those are just stereotypes some of us still don’t expect the student in the library to be an athlete and the sports hero to get great test scores. So what happens when someone manages to stand out so much that it obliterates these stereotypes? We should ask Kelly Matheson, the student, the athlete and the person.

The Dinos soccer alumnus received recognition Wed., Sept. 13 in Toronto as one of the Royal Bank’s Top 10 Academic All-Canadians. Matheson is only the second University of Calgary student–following Olympian Curtis Myden–and first-ever female to receive this award.

Matheson easily met Royal Bank’s criteria of a student athlete with an academic average above 80 per cent in each of her five university years. She finally cracked the top 10 when she was selected by a board of seven Canada West athletic directors from a pool of 1,600 scholar athletes.

Matheson will graduate in November with a degree in Environmental Science and Geography with distinction. Her academic highlights include being a provincial finalist for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship in 1999 and the U of C’s Scholar Athlete of the Year in 1999 and 2000. She also claimed a number of other academic awards including the Sciences-Engineering Scholarship Award recognizing Matheson’s highest mark for any female student-athlete in those faculties.

On the soccer pitch, Matheson is just as impressive as she is in the classroom. After transferring to U of C from the University of British Columbia, Matheson helped lead the Dinos to a national championship in 1998. She was co-captain in her final two seasons and earned a spot on the all-tournament team in U of C’s championship season. She closed out her illustrious varsity soccer career last year with a spot on the Conference All-Star Team.

Matheson remains at the U of C this year and is helping women’s Head Coach Robin Slot as an assistant. She is trying to pass on her experience to her former teammates; one hopes Matheson’s work ethic and leadership will rub off on them.

When talking to those who got to know Kelly Matheson best, the common thread is her personality.

"Kelly is an excellent student, an excellent athlete and above all a super person," said Jack Neumann, director of Dinos media relations. "A lot of people don’t realize this about Kelly, but as good an athlete and a student she is, she’s a better person.

"I’ve seen a lot of championships, a lot of wins and losses here at the U of C, but the leadership she provided was just fabulous."

Matheson’s amazing work ethic also impressed her coach.

"All the recognition she’s got, she deserved it," said Slot. "She’s very bright, she’s very motivated, likes to be challenged and she’s a very good leader."

When asked about his favourite Matheson memory, Slot talked about winning the 1998 national championship.

"Just seeing her face at the end of it, that she finally achieved a big award and recognition in terms of her soccer abilities."

Assistant Coach Matheson is also an asset to the Dinos soccer program.

"She’s good with younger players," Slot remarked. "She can give something back that way and provide some leadership to them and help them along as they go into their second, third and fourth years.

"She leads by example, working hard, never giving up and she’s very motivated and loves to be challenged. That way she’s a good model for the younger players."

Her Dinos career at an end, Kelly Matheson will be remembered as one of the finest student-athletes ever to represent the U of C.

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