Allstate Westfield Athlete of the Week: Matt Meusel

Matt Meusel is this week’s Ron Bansky and Associates Allstate Westfield Athlete of the Week. Credits: Suzanne Weigand

WESTFIELD, NJ — Westfield High School junior Matt Meusel ran a little bit in middle school, but ultimately joined the cross country team his freshman year because he thought it would be a great way to meet people and have something to do after school.

For this week’s Ron Bansky and Associates Allstate Westfield Athlete of the Week, the sport ended up being so much more. With his passion and dedication, he has become a very successful runner throughout the running seasons, recently qualifying for two spots in the winter track NJSIAA Meet of Champions (MOC) to be held Saturday. He earned a wildcard spot in the 1600 meter event, as well as a spot as a member of the 4x800 team.

“Qualifying for the MOC in two events is definitely not common,” head coach Chris Tafelski said. “He has always been a strong miler, and now that he's committed to the indoor season as well, it's fun to see where that might take him.”

Sign Up for E-News

Because the two events are close together and would not allow for enough recovery tim, Meusel will only compete at the 1600 event in the MOC. Meusel's 4:23 time from the State Group 4 meet last Friday is the second-best time ever run by a Westfield junior for the 1600 indoors, according to Tafelski.

Meusel attributes a lot of his success to his work ethic . This was the first season that he locked in solely on running, not even allowing himself to play his other favorite sport, basketball, which he has played each winter since elementary school.

“I definitely didn't take this sport as serious freshman year as I do now, and besides getting faster, which happens to everyone who puts the work in every day, I've learned to live my life a little differently,” he said. “It's not always easy being a runner because some sacrifices have to be made sometimes to make sure the training you put in doesn't go to waste. That's the biggest thing I've learned, to realize that hard work pays off and that discipline is what's going to bring you to that next level.”

Tafelski applauded his efforts and successes.

“Matt's a really tough competitor,” he said. “Indoor track racing is much more physical than cross country and outdoor track. Matt's physical strength is a huge asset for him. His work ethic in training is the key to his success this winter. As long as he keeps preparing for training and competition as well as he does, he will continue to develop as a runner.”

Going forward, Meusel said he will try to not focus too much on his times, because that often trips runners up.

“My goal is always to just compete every day,” Meusel said. “People get caught up in times too often. I'm a victim of it myself, but fast times come by just competing and giving everything you have every single day. Our team has a lot of potential, such as in the 4x800 and our distance team has a ton of guys that are on the path to have a huge outdoor season. I'm just going to keep working every day and I know if I stay on my current path the spring season will be a success.”

Meusel also gives a lot of credit to his coach.

“People should know how much work coach Tafelski puts into our program,” Meusel said. “He is the one who has kept me on the right track and has given me enough information not only about running, but just life in general that could last a lifetime.”

Next fall, Meusel will be a captain of the cross country team.

“I'm excited to be a captain and take on that new leadership role for cross country and if the same happens for track, then that's great,” he said. “If not, then so be it, but it's a great feeling to know your teammates trust you and want you to be their captain.”

Tafelski believes Meusel will fit well in the role.

“As a future captain, his commitment to his training and his performance in competition go hand-in-hand,” Tafelski said.  “As a coach, that's the number one thing you want the younger kids on the team to see first hand.  Matt's example already makes him a great leader on our team.”

After three years of running memories and success, Meusel is more than happy that he went out for the team freshman year.

“It's turned out to be one of the greatest decisions of my life because I've grown so much, not only as a runner but also as a person through some of the people I have met,” Meusel said.

Eric Storms is a student at Westfield High School participating in a journalism program with TAPinto Westfield.

The Allstate Westfield Athlete of the Week is sponsored by Ron Bansky & Associates Allstate Agency. Now located 502 East Broad St., the agency has been protecting local families and business owners for over 15 years. Call them at 908-301-0711 for a new auto, home or life insurance quote this week and if you mention the Allstate WHS Athlete of the Week they will make a $25 contribution to the Westfield Boosters Association! To learn more, visit

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Bear Sighted in Scotch Plains

February 25, 2018

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ — Scotch Plains police are advising residents to keep small animals and children indoors in the area near Glenside Avenue and Deerpath following reports of a bear sighting.

The bear was last seen heading into Watchung Reservation.

Police warn not to attempt to feed or approach the bear. If you see it, call Scotch Plains police to report the location by ...

Mayor Brindle’s Update

February 15, 2018

The following are highlights from the update that Mayor Shelley Brindle gave at Tuesday night’s town council meeting.

I first want to congratulate Nick Calello and David Went for their promotions to patrol officers in the Westfield Police Department. I’d also like to welcome and congratulate new Patrol Officer Fortunato Riga, who joins the police department this week upon his ...

Upcoming Events


Sun, February 25, 10:00 AM

Camp Riverbend, Warren

Camp Riverbend Open House


Sun, February 25, 11:30 AM

Union County Torah Center - Chabad, Westfield

Hamantash Bake at the Torah Center

Religions And Spirituality

Tue, February 27, 7:30 PM


Westfield Board of Education Meeting


Westfield Police Blotter: Man Steals 60 Pairs of Pants from Downtown Store & More

February 21, 2018

February 14, 2018 10:53 p.m.

Officers Gill and Weiss arrested Luis Murillo, age 30, of Rahway, NJ, for two outstanding warrants out of Westfield Municipal Court ($500) and Woodbridge Municipal Court ($500) pursuant to a motor vehicle stop in Scotch Plans Township. Subject was transported to headquarters, processed and released after posting requisite bail.


February 15, 2018 5:24 ...

Wardlaw+Hartridge Students Present Creative Movement Showcase

February 25, 2018

Middle School students at The Wardlaw+Hartridge School in Edison who participated in the first Creative Movement class presented their work in a showcase on Feb. 14 in the Berry Performing Arts Center.

W+H partnered with The Mason Gross Masters in Dance Education Program to offer a Creative Movement class to teach students how to express themselves and their creative ideas through ...

7 Homes Sold Last Week in Westfield, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Mountainside & Cranford

Seven homes sold last week, 2/18/2018-2/25/18, in Westfield, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Mountainside and Cranford.*


TOWN               ADDRESS             STYLE            RMS     ...

The Missing Moses

A seemingly dubious distinction belongs to this week’s Parshah, Tetzaveh (Exodus 27:20–30:10). It is the only reading in the Torah — from the first Parshah of the book of Exodus (in which he is born) until the end of the book of Numbers — where the name of Moses is not mentioned. Tetzaveh’s opening words are V’atah ...

‘Month of Hope’ at Wilson School

Inspired by the HOPE Week Initiative introduced in 2009 by the New York Yankees, Mr. Joseph Malanga, principal of Wilson School and a fan of the American League professional ballclub, declared January the “Month of Hope” at Wilson.

Malanga called on the school’s faculty Acts of Kindness Committee to choose the charitable organizations to be recipients of the weekly donation ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 12

On this week’s episode of AtlantiCast, decade of excellence makes headlines, as Atlantic Health’s place on Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For List leads off the newest episode of AtlantiCast. Also on this week’s show, check out the newest “hybrid” operating room at Morristown Medical Center and find out how Atlantic Health is helping local ...

Good News in NJ for Veterans

Beginning in the 2017 tax year, New Jersey will give an additional $3,000 exemption for military veterans. You are eligible to claim this exemption NJ state income tax return if you are a military veteran who was honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances from active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States on or before the last day of the tax year.


The ...

How to Talk with Kids About the Florida Shooting

February 13, 2018

The tragedy of the Florida school shooting is devastating, leaving 17 killed and 15 injured. Our children can easily identify with what occurred yesterday. It will be the topic of conversation today in schools everywhere. School administrators are doing all they can to provide support and guidance. The shootings affect children, teachers, and school personnel. The school shooting ...

Love Craft Beer But Hate the Tour? State Assembly Moves to Make it Easier for You to Belly Up to the Bar

Good news is a brew for New Jersey craft beer advocates. In February 2018, the New Jersey Assembly’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee paved the way for the introduction of Bill A2196, which would remove a current licensing rule requiring breweries and distilleries to provide a tour of their facilities before serving alcoholic beverages to consumers. Currently, breweries holding a ...

'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on ...

Is FAANG Long in the Tooth?

Investors love to rally around a stock story. Today it’s all about the FAANG stocks. Facebook (FB), Amazon (AMZN), Apple (AAPL), Netflix (NFLX) and Google (GOOG) are a major reason why the S&P 500 rallied so much in 2017. Mr. Market is convinced the FAANGs are impervious to a sell-off. “Its different this time” is ringing loud and clear, but will the outcome really be that ...

Imagine a Chatham Toboggan Ride from the Top of Fairmount Avenue to Main Street

Did you know….
there was a time when Chatham kids could ice skate from downtown Chatham all the way to Florham Park? And that a toboggan ride could last from the top of Fairmount Avenue down to Main Street and beyond?

Those were the days!

This was back in the early to mid-1900s. The Passaic River meandered through grassy meadows and woods on the north side of Chatham. The marshy ...


Kathleen Marie Christian (nee Helmstetter), age 73 of Surf City, NJ, passed away peacefully at home ...
Read more

Nutley Police Make Arrest In Instagram School Threat Case

February 24, 2018

NUTLEY, NJ — An 18-year-old high school student has been charged with Third Degree False Public Alarm after an Instagram post led the Nutley school district to close schools last week.

Joseph Rafanello, a senior at Nutley High School, was arrested and taken to Essex County Jail.The arrest followed a full investigation by the police. The video at ...