SportsAthlete of the Week


KOAA Athlete of the Week: Peyton's Matthew Peery

Sophomore wins a State Title just nine months after father's death in line of duty
Posted at 6:38 AM, May 26, 2023

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After a year of tragedy, Matthew Peery experienced triumph.

The sophomore from Peyton, CO won the 2A State Track & Field title this past weekend. Matthew was running for more than a trophy, it was a season for his dad, fallen Deputy Andrew Peery.

Our Athlete of the Week wore his father's SWAT code name "Z8" on his jersey.

"It was for my family and for my father," Matthew Peery said.

Matthew's late-father Andrew Peery was an El Paso County Deputy who was shot and killed in the line of duty last August.

The loss took its toll on the Southern Colorado community and several people in Peyton stepped up to honor him.

"The cross country team started it with putting the call number on their jerseys, we did the same thing and the football team had it," Peyton's head track coach, Richard Deems said. "Everyone supports him and loves that guy and it's just awesome for people to rally around when someone has tragedy like that."

Matthew said he's always been a runner, but this past year running became more like therapy.

"Just {helps} get my mind off of it and I get to hang out with friends after school," Peery explained.

Matthew and his teammates set a goal to win state at the beginning of the season.

"We knew there were some other really good teams we had to race against and all year they had been talking about setting the bar high and going for it," Coach Deems explained. "At state they just stepped up for one another."

Getting through grief is a long process, but Peery's three relay teammates have been with him every step of the way.

"It's not easy, but it's been nice having the guys with us," Peery shared.

Running takes mental toughness, a quality Matthew Peery is known for.

"The things he's had to overcome personally, losing his father and then still being able to come out and perform the way he does is just quite exceptional," Coach Deems said.

Andrew Peery was Matthew's hero and always cheered him on at track meets.

"He was very loud," Matthew smiled. "He'd be very happy and excited {for us}."

About Athlete of the Week

News5 works to honor the high school Athlete of the Week throughout the school year in our Tuesday evening newscasts. We’re looking for that special teen who is working hard and playing right all while making parents and coaches proud.

Nominate your Athlete of the Week today! See our current and past athletes of the week, click here.