Tiger Tracker: Matt Dayton
Welcome to Tiger Tracker, a snap shot of past Summit School District graduates. As a Summit-Lake
Dillon Optimist member, I welcome you to enjoy, as I have, learning about graduates from our schools. In my 20-plus years as a Summit High School teacher, I met and worked with
thousands of students. What a pleasure it’s been to see them move on from their secondary education into professions spanning all walks of life. One of the most-gratifying aspects has been to
see them grow into contributing and participating members of society, regardless of their high school achievements. I hope you will share in the pride I feel of our school system and community as you read the stories of these past students.
– Bill Wallace
Matt Dayton, a 1996 graduate of Summit High School, was born and raised in the Summit County area. The son of Gene Dayton, one of the pioneers of Nordic skiing in Summit County, Matt followed closely in his father’s footsteps in acquiring a passion for sports, especially Nordic skiing. But Matt’s interests were not limited to skiing. Matt participated in Optimist-sponsored soccer and excelled in many other sports as a student. Under the watchful eye of SHS Coach Giberson (a SHS teacher), Matt excelled in Nordic skiing and earned top honors, including All-American high school skier, Colorado State High School Skier of the Year, various top medals in state Nordic competitions – including earning the state championship in the Nordic Classic in his junior year – and many Tri-State Awards (soccer, track, skiing).
Following graduation from SHS, Matt moved to Steamboat Springs where he began ski jumping at the age of 19 while attending Colorado Mountain College. In 1997, Matt joined the development team of the U.S. Ski Team – a program that grooms promising athletes for potential future placement on the U.S. Ski Team. Matt became a member of the U.S. Ski Team in 1999, where he traveled throughout the world including Europe, Scandinavia and Japan competing in World Cup competitions. Matt’s top finish was fifth in the World Cup. In 2002, Matt competed in the Salt Lake Olympics Nordic Combined Event in individual and team events. The U.S. team finished fourth, with a medal just out of reach. Matt remembers fondly how many friends and family from Summit County came to Salt Lake to support his Olympic effort.
In 2002 Matt married his wife, Janelle, also a SHS graduate, and moved to Denver where he completed his education, earning a degree in business administration at Regis University. In 2003, Matt and Janelle moved back to Summit County where Matt joined in the management of family business, the Breckenridge Nordic Center and started his company – Nordic Hardwood Flooring. Matt and Janelle reside in Summit County with their two children, Lucas and Eden. They are expecting their third child in February. Asked how his time at SHS prepared him for his future, Matt replied “I learned discipline, balancing academics and athletics. And the need to work hard in business and the importance of the physical outlet of sports.”
Reflecting back on his SHS years Matt’s fondest memories are of sports and his wonderful teachers including Mr. Giberson, Mr. Wallace, Ms. Foote, Ms. McDermitt and Mr. Irwin.
You can find Matt on Facebook at MatthewDayton.
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