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Rogers City’s Matt Wilbert signs with ACC

News Photo by James Andersen Rogers City senior Matt Wilbert, seated, became the newest member of the Alpena Community College cross country program after signing his letter of intent on Tuesday.

ALPENA — Throughout his high school career, Matt Wilbert established himself as a hard worker, always willing to push himself to improve.

That’s just the type of work ethic that Alpena Community College cross country coach Mark Jacobs is looking for.

Wilbert became the newest member of ACC’s cross country program on Tuesday when he signed his Letter of Intent. He follows in the footsteps of his brother Paul, who ran for the Lumberjacks from 2013-14.

“It feels good,” Wilbert said. I’m ready to take my running to the next level and really focus on my personal abilities and running for a new school.”

Wilbert, who began running in the fifth grade, was a two-time state qualifier for the Hurons. He competed at Michigan International Speedway in 2018 as a freshman and recently competed for a second time to finish his senior year. Wilbert finished 107th in the Division 4 boys race on Nov. 6, crossing the line in 18:27.

“It’s always a lot of fun to go down there because there’s about 250 runners and you go out and see runners from all over the state and people who run against and people you don’t run against and it’s just really competitive and it’s really fun to be in an environment with that many people,” Wilbert said.

Wilbert is the latest Rogers City runner to sign with ACC, joining recent ACC runners like Paul Wilbert and Duncan Ross. Jacobs has built up his program on the talent of small-town runners from schools like Fairview, Hale, Rogers City, and Alpena and said Wilbert will be a great addition to the program.

“I think he’s a perfect fit both individually and as a (teammate). He’s one of my kind of guys,” Jacobs said. “Just a phenomenal young man, but he’s a great worker, he’s got a great work ethic, so he’ll be a great fit and a great addition to our program.”

Jacobs, who graduates most of this year’s team, said Wilbert, along with recent Alpena High signees Hayden Allen and Jacob Kochanski, will be an important contributor next season as ACC looks to rebuild.

“I’ve had really good success with small-town runners,” Jacobs said. “Once local kids see that ok, another local kid went to ACC and it’s a good place to be, then they’ll join them. There’s no hesitation there.”

Wilbert knows the pace and demands of running in college will increase, but he said he’s ready to push himself to a higher standard.

“Working hard and practicing to the best of my abilities,” Wilbert said. “When I’m here, I’m going to try and push myself even farther than I did in high school.”

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