Snyder ready for next step

DES MOINES, Iowa – Matt Snyder has spent most of his life training for two things: To win a national title and to become a doctor.

He fell short of his first goal, but now he is ready to turn all of his attention to his second.

“I’m definitely ready for it,” the Lewistown graduate said after his final match at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. “It’s tough to see this chapter of my life close, but I’m excited to see the next chapter open.”

The Virginia 125-pounder went 2-2 at the national tournament, falling one victory short of earning All-American honors. He finished with 98 career wins, which ranks ninth on Virginia’s all-time list.

“It’s just crazy that it’s over,” he said. “About 19 years of my life I’ve been training, building up to this. It’s tougher to swallow that it’s over than not achieving an accomplishment.”

Snyder, who already has a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and will earn his master’s in two months, can now turn more of his attention to his studies.

“It will be interesting because I’ve always balanced my academic and athletic goals side by side,” he said. “Now it’s just that my academic goals are life goals. It will be an interesting way to transition into the next chapter of my life.”

Snyder already has mapped out how that chapter will go.

“I’m planning on taking off next year and doing an internship with Athletes in Action at UVA, which is a Christian athlete ministry down there,” he said. “I’ll be working with the wrestling team and the athletics community in general. During that time I’ll be applying to med school. I’ll enter med school in the fall of 2014. That’s been a lifelong goal of mine to go to med school.”

Snyder had to have a bone-marrow transplant at age 3, and that had a lasting impact on him.

“That’s what has inspired me my whole life,” he said. “I’ve always known I’ve wanted to be a doctor.”

Snyder used athletics as a way to help him earn his degrees – he recently was selected as one of 41 Atlantic Coast Conference student-athletes to receive the James-Corrigan Award but he also knows that many others have helped him along his journey.

“I just want to make sure I thank everyone back home for all of the support over the years,” he said. “It’s been an incredible ride. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the support of my friends and family especially. Everyone back home who has invested a lot of time in my life growing up and sticking with me throughout college, their presence in my life has been invaluable.”