Former seminarian turned triathlete is doing what he sets his mind to

By Murphy Obershaw, Staff Writer

New to the triathlon team this year and training for races, senior Matthew Nguyen used to be part of a completely different type of training during his first few years of college.

For his freshman through junior years of college, Nguyen was in seminary studying to become a Catholic priest.

He attended Conception Seminary College located in Conception, MO during his freshman year. However, he was moved to the House of Formation in Wichita for his sophomore and junior years of college.

The House of Formation is where seminarians from the Diocese of Wichita live in community as they prepare for the priesthood. They attend Newman to earn their bachelor’s degree in philosophy for theological studies.

Nguyen discerned out of seminary this past May, but decided to stay at Newman. He is no longer becoming a priest, but he will still graduate with a philosophy degree.

In addition to staying at Newman and continuing the major, Nguyen decided to join the triathletes this year.

“I have always wanted to do a sport in college, and I heard that they were looking for more people,” Nguyen said.

Nguyen said he joined the team without having any previous experience competing in triathlons, running, biking, or swimming.

“The hardest thing to get used to was swimming. I have never been a strong swimmer,” Nguyen said.

Although this is a new challenge for him, Nguyen said he loves being a part of the team.

“The thing I love most about the sport is the community and the mental toughness that you develop. You can truly do anything you put your mind to,” Nguyen said.

Teammate Marlie Wagner said she enjoys having him on the team as well.

“It was easy to incorporate Matthew's antics into the team because many of us knew him before joining triathlon. Matthew brings a lot of fun to the team and quickly adapted to our overall spontaneity,” Wagner said.

Nguyen has competed in two races so far, and said he is improving as time goes on. His next race will be an indoor race in January in Iowa.

PHOTO: Courtesy Photo, Matthew Nguyen.