Bobcat Invitational Cross Country meet.
As far back as he can remember, Tyler Mattix didn't handle down time too well.
"As a kid, I would go do yard work so I wouldn't be bored," the Georgia College and State University senior said. "I pretty much can't sit still."
That pretty much explains the Shiloh grad's busy college schedule.
Mattix is the Bobcats' top cross country runner, paying his own way with the HOPE Scholarship (he has a 3.26 GPA) since NCAA Division II schools don't award athletic scholarships. But his environmental science studies and his running, enough to keep most college students busy, are only part of his hectic life.
He works shifts at Chili's for extra money, just a day or two during the season and five days the rest of the school year. He heads to Lake Sinclair as much as he can, getting his fill of fishing and hunting.
Oh, and one more thing. He's in the second year of a six-year contract with the U.S. Marines Corps Reserves, spending a weekend a month serving at Dobbins Air Force base in Marietta.
He spent part of the summer leading up to this season by serving with the Marines in Morocco and training soldiers there.
"It's just something I've always wanted to do," Mattix said of the Marines. "It's one of those challenges, the few, the proud. We have the most intense training of the four branches."
While in Morocco, Mattix kept up his training. He couldn't let his fitness slack off, not with his senior season coming up.
A former all-conference runner at North Georgia (he came to GCSU when the program there disbanded), he has posted some of the top times in school history the past two seasons. He had a career-best 8K time of 26 minutes, 30 seconds in his most recent meet, a seventh-place showing at the Augusta State Invitational.
The Bobcats have the Peach Belt Conference Championships this weekend in Aiken, S.C., hopefully followed by the NCAA Southeast Regional Championships on Nov. 5. Before long, Mattix's college career will be over.
But it's safe to say he'll find something else to do.
"I pretty much have my hands full all the time," Mattix said. "That's the way I like it. I can't stand down time."
Army's Joiner gets conference honor
Collins Hill grad Matt Joiner, a senior at Army, was named the Patriot League diver of the week on Monday.
Joiner stood out in a dual meet with rival Marist, winning the one-meter (253.20 points) and placing second in the three-meter (242.80). The son of two teachers, he is majoring in German at the academy.
Locals shine in UGA-Tech meet
Georgia defeated rival Georgia Tech in both men's and women's swimming and diving last week, and both teams got key points from Gwinnett County products.
Duluth's Hailey White won the 500-yard freestyle (5 minutes, 8.96 seconds) for Tech, in addition to taking fifth in the 200 free and helping her 400 free relay to first place.
Georgia's Jana Mangimelli of Brookwood helped her 400 medley relay to first place, while teammates Sommers Creed of Mill Creek (third in the 1,000 free, 10:11.62) and Meghan Faulkner of Brookwood (third in 400 individual medley, 4:28.88) also swam well.
Tech's Jordan Evans, a Mill Creek grad, was fourth in the 200 butterfly (2:04.53).
Greater Atlanta Christian's Will Freeman led the locals for the UGA men, placing second in the 1,000 free (9:13.62), third in the 200 fly (1:54.13) and third in the 500 free (4:36.09).
Peachtree Ridge's Luke Upchurch (fourth in 100 free, 46.80 and first in 400 medley relay) and John Simmons (fourth in 200 free, 1:43.16) also had solid meets. Tech's Zach Tillman of Mill Creek was fifth in the 1,000 free (9:57.93).
West Georgia relying on Gwinnett grads
West Georgia (4-3) has relied heavily on Gwinnett talent this season, including senior tight end Randy Sides.
Sides has just four catches as a tight end/H-back, but has been the team's player of the week twice recently because of his stellar blocking. He's played and started more games than any of his current teammates.
Fellow senior Brandon McEachern of Buford has made 20 tackles on defense and senior Manny Rodriguez of Central Gwinnett has 25 tackles and an interception. Another Central grad, freshman Cornelius Winters, has 31 tackles on defense and Dacula's Darien Lane, a sophomore, has an interception.
Joining Sides on the offense are two local running backs, senior Yusuf Holloway (Central) and freshman Seth Hinsley (Norcross). Holloway averages 58.3 rushing yards and Hinsley has carried 17 times for 88 yards.
Another big game for Heinicke
Taylor Heinicke's Old Dominion team fell short to a Towson comeback in a 39-35 loss last Saturday, but the true freshman from Collins Hill stood out again.
Heinicke, originally slated to redshirt, played his way into the lineup and threw for 360 yards and three touchdowns in his most recent start.
Pascutti honored by Peach Belt
Armstrong Atlantic forward Kristina Pascutti, a Parkview grad, was named the Peach Belt Conference women's soccer player of the week on Tuesday.
Pascutti scored four goals in the 18th-ranked Pirates' wins the previous week over two Peach Belt rivals. She had her first career hat trick, the program's first since 2009, in a 5-1 victory over Flagler.
She is tied for the Peach Belt lead with nine goals this season.
Gwinnett Grads is a column that runs on Saturdays spotlighting achievements of past Gwinnett standouts. Coaches and parents are urged to send suggestions via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.