Published in the November 29, 2017 edition

MATT GREATOREX gets ready to sign his NLI to the UMass Lowell track and field program. Front row from left: Matt’s sister Emma, Matt and sister Jaime. Back row from left: Coach Perry Pappas, Matt’s dad Jim, his mom Michelle, and WMHS Athletic Director Brendan Kent. (Dan Pawlowski Photo)


WAKEFIELD — Wakefield’s Matt Greatorex has reached many milestones throughout his four years competing for the Warrior track and field program, but this one is tough to beat.

Last week, Greatorex made his UMass Lowell commitment official, signing a National Letter of Intent to the River Hawks’ track and field program. Like he does at Wakefield High, Greatorex will run in all three seasons for UMass Lowell. There were many factors that led him to Lowell, including a top-notch Engineering program and a familiarity with the team.

MATT GREATOREX celebrates signing day with his Wakefield track teammates.
(Dan Pawlowski Photo)

“It was one of the first schools I looked at and once I got there I felt like I had a strong connection with the coaching staff,” said Greatortex. “I also knew Jack Gallagher who graduated from Wakefield; he’s going to be a senior next year. He showed me around and introduced me to the team. I think I knew right away that this was going to be the school I would pick.”

Greatorex will leave behind a lasting legacy for Wakefield track and field, including a cross country career that could go down as the best in program history. Greatorex was the the top runner the last two years for the 2016 and 2017 back-to-back State Champs. Last year, he became just the second Wakefield boy to ever finish first overall at the Division State Meet, and this year he became the first in school history to ever win back-to-back individual titles. While that might stick out to some as an individual accomplishment, the best part about Greatorex as a teammate according to WMHS boys’ cross country head coach Perry Pappas is his team mentality, as he pushes everyone else to be their best.

“Matt puts his team first and that has driven him to some great performances helping the team to all of our recent success,” said Pappas.

Greatorex credits coach Pappas, not just for helping him excel in the sport, but for encouraging him to commit to it from his freshman year.

“Coach Pappas is the main reason I got into track,” said Greatorex. “Going into high school I was thinking about playing football, but I ran cross country in middle school and in eighth grade he told me I should run cross country in high school. Without him, I wouldn’t be doing this sport in the first place. Once I started, he pushed me to be my best and that’s how I got to this point.”

The Division 1 River Hawks are getting a committed student-athlete whose dedication to running and academics will help him improve every year into a valuable member of the UML community, just like has at Wakefield.

“Matt is a rare talent but the best thing about him is his work ethic,” said Pappas. “As a result he has progressed really well over the past four years.”

Greatorex is quick to credit his teammates and coaches at Wakefield for helping him achieve success on the track, but he also makes sure to shoutout his teachers, who have helped him get ready to take on the heavy workload that will surely come at UML, who has one of the best Engineering programs in the state.

“He couldn’t have asked for a better experience from day one,” said his mother Michelle. “Coaching-wise and teaching-wise he’s had nothing but the best experience at Wakefield.”

As for his fit at UMass, Michelle has no doubts that it is the perfect place for him.

“I think it’s going to be a great fit for him. He started looking at UMass Lowell last February talking to the coaches, touring the school and talking about the program. He was impressed and loved it from the beginning.”

Coach Pappas sees a similar vision for Greatorex at the next level.   

“Matt understands that it takes more than natural ability to perform at a high level,” said Pappas. “He is very humble and I think that has helped make him rise about the rest of his competition.”

Here’s to many more milestones in the future.