German Athletes Find Home with MSUM Track and Field

MSUM track and field to compete at NSIC Championships next Friday.

MOORHEAD, Minn. — The track and field season is nearing its end for MSUM. Both the men and women’s teams continue to prepare for the NSIC Outdoor Championships in Winona a week from Friday.

At Minnesota State-Moorhead there is a pair of Dragons that have traveled a great distance to compete in the sport that they love.

“The flight attendant was like, ‘Are you aware of where you’re going?’ because I came in the spring semester in January,” Bielefeld, Germany native Tobias Boegel said.

“I left my home. I left my friends. I left my familiar surroundings and environment,” Busdorf, Moorschlag 6, Germany native Jonas Matzen said. “Then I came here [Moorhead] in the deepest winter. I didn’t know anyone. My language was a little rough.”

Boegel and Matzen’s life in America didn’t get off to the fastest start. With the help of MSUM track and field, their adjustment to a new culture was off and running.

“Being in a sport here helps a lot,” Matzen said. “You automatically within a week, within a few days, you make like 20, 30, 40 friends who share the same ambition with you. With the same sport. They show you around. They help you out. This sport here is the one big thing that helped me out in the beginning.”

“I think that the biggest factor to not being effected by being away from home was being an athlete,” Boegel stated.

For Matzen’s first couple weeks at MSUM he thought he was the only German on the track and field team.

“Someone came up to me and said, ‘Hey, did you know there was another German?’ I was like, ‘Ha, good joke. I wish man,'” Matzen explained.

“I said ‘There is no new German,'” Boegel said when friends attempted to explain to him about Matzen. “They were like, ‘Yeah he is on the track team. He’s athletic lifting wise.’ I was like, ‘I would know. There is no other.'”

“Then they introduced us and it was a great time,” Matzen said. “We had a great time bonding. It is just nice to have someone to joke with about all the childhood stuff that you experienced together because you’re both from the same place. Sometimes when people talk about childhood stuff here [America], like high school and middle school stuff, I’m like, ‘I have no idea what you’re talking about. I didn’t go here.’ With Toby it is different. We can talk about the same things. We can joke about the same things. Sometimes we have a really funny time because nobody knows what we’re talking about.”

Although they are miles away from their home country of Germany.

“Home is where it feels like home,” Boegel stated.

That is exactly what these two have found at Minnesota State-Moorhead, another home.

Matzen just finished 4th in the Decathalon with the second–best score in MSUM school history at the NSIC Multis last weekend. He also set a personal record in the high jump at 6 feet, 9 inches.

Boegel ran to a first place finish at the Beaver Twilight in the 60 meter dash last year.

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