Alice runner Matthew Lara has a lot of running left to do.

The Alice High School senior signed a national letter of intent to continue his running career at Div. I Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

Lara signed with the Islanders Wednesday afternoon at Alice High School surrounded by family, coaches and friends. National Signing Day isn’t until next year, but Lara was sought after by the school which allowed for the early signing.

“Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi really wanted Matthew,” Alice cross country coach Marissa Acosta said. “He’s a great runner and a great young man.”

Lara is between cross country season and track and field seasons. In his last competitive run, Lara, who overcame a severe ankle injury midway through the fall cross country season, placed 22nd out of a field of 152 runners at the University Interscholastic League Class 5A state cross country meet at Old Settler’s Park in Round Rock.

Lara advanced to the state meet two weeks earlier by placing 14th at the Region IV-5A meet at Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi. He finished the regional race with a time of 16:33. The top four teams and the top 10 individual runners not part of an advancing team qualify for state. Lara was 14th out of 144 runners at regionals.

Lara, also a track and field standout for Alice, is only the third members of the Alice High School cross country program in recent years to move on collegiate level. In 2010, Acosta graduated from Alice High School and went on to TAMUK to be a part of the school’s cross country and track and field programs.

Katherine Ramirez, a 2015 graduate from Alice High School, went to the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio where she is a member of the program's cross country and track teams.