Miami’s Matt Mulvaney a big runner despite small stature

The University of Miami cross country team has two main reasons for believing in themselves. Those reasons are team leaders Dan Boniface and Matt Mulvaney. Mulvaney led the Hurricanes at the Great American Cross Country festival with his 56th place finish this past weekend.

Mulvaney, a junior, came to UM from South Hadley, MA, where he ran in high school. Mulvaney has improved a lot since his high school days.

“When we first started out, he was a minute and a half behind me. He has trained with great runners in Boulder, CO, and has doubled his mileage from high school,” said senior teammate Dan Boniface.

Mulvaney has made great strides since he played in high school. No one knows that better than his coach, Mike Ward.

“Matt was just a decent high school runner, but not outstanding. However, last year was his breakthrough year. He qualified for the Big East championships and finished ninth there,” said Coach Ward.

Mulvaney’s success on the track is amazing, especially considering all the things that he deals with everyday. Mulvaney is the only athlete at the university that is in the school of music. The school of music is very time demanding, but Mulvaney finds a way to balance that, a frat (Sigma Phi Epsilon), and athletics.

“The school told me I could not be in the school of music and do cross country because it was too time consuming. I’ve managed to do it by hard work and being able to work out conflicts well in advance,” said Mulvaney.

As far as being in a frat goes, his teammates and coach try to give him a hard time about it. With all the other things on his plate, finding time for the frat is sometimes difficult, but Mulvaney finds a way to do it.

“I’m very diligent in how I approach things. I’m definitely kept really busy, but I’ve met some of my best friends through Sig Ep, and I try to be as involved as possible,” said Mulvaney.

The way that Mulvaney is able to balance a frat, the school of music, and cross country comes from traits that he attributes to his mother. He knows he would not be where he is today without the help of his parents, especially his mom.

“I wouldn’t be here today without my mom. She took care of me, and she taught me organization, that allows me to do all these things at once,” said Mulvaney.

Mulvaney and Boniface both have personal goals of doing well in the Big East championship, and eclipsing the school record mark of 24:37, a mark both athletes have come close to.

“You don’t expect him to be everything that he is. Matt is a small guy, and you just don’t see him coming,” said Boniface.

One of the things that make Mulvaney great is his competitiveness, hard work, and desire to succeed.

“Matt is hungry to beat people and to do his best,” said Ward.

The Canes hope for success rides highly on Boniface and Mulvaney doing just that, beating their opponents in races. Their styles are different, as Boniface likes to get out early and set the pace, while Mulvaney will make his move towards the middle of the pack.

“They have to run extremely well every week for us to be successful,” said Ward.

If they can do that, the Canes will represent themselves very nicely in the Big East championships.

You can reach Darren Grossman at