SCRANTON, Pa. — Matt Stankiewitch has always achieved athletic success. A district football champion at Blue Mountain high-school. An Under-Armour All-American lineman. Captain of the Big 33 football team,and a 27 game starter for the Penn State Nittany Lions under center his senior year for quarterback Matt McGloin.
"Another highlight was my junior year. We faced Ohio State at Ohio State. We beat them at their place. So that was fun too," said Matt.
Credited with one full year of time in the NFL split between the Patriots and the Jaguars Matt turned to physical fitness transforming his body to do other sports besides football.
"Of course football at one point it was a full-time job. I mean it was even longer than a full-time job. I mean for my body type I would eat so much kind of the nutrition was like 24 hours," again said Matt.
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And this is where rowing comes in. In November his new machine arrived and he has been training ever since recently competing virtually in the Canadian Indoor Rowing Championships.
"Funny I have not. Actually I have never rowed before in my life," added Matt.
On this digital platform qualifier in the America's Continental area Matt one of five men in the open division to qualify for worlds in the 500 meter and the 2000 meter races.
"And I would look up some cross-fitters or some people and I am crushing all their times. So I was like maybe I will look up actually crew members-like people that row for Harvard or row for some of these Ivy League schools, and I am beating all of their times," said Matt.
Living outside of Philadelphia now the day Matt shot this video for qualifying his wife was behind the camera, and both of his parents we're there. That was the first time Matt got to see them in over a year because of the COVID-19 shutdown but they we're both there cheering him on.
"I don't think they actually knew what was going on, but yeah it was kind of funny with them sitting there. It was like a little bit of an audience though at the same time," added Matt.
The World Indoor Rowing Championship competition takes place February 24-27.
Steve Lloyd Newswatch 16 sports Lackawanna County.