His field of competition is the classroom.
He stands about 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighs 130 pounds - if you count the book bag filled with heavy, thick textbooks.
His opponents are college-level calculus and biology, English and world history.
And 390 other kids.
Matthew Harvey of Nation Ford High School is undefeated.
Nobody ever asked Matthew what he can bench press, what his time in the 40-yard dash might be.
No recruiter from Harvard or Princeton or Yale, or Stanford or Notre Dame or Penn - or any of hundreds of other schools begging him to show up at their college and make that college immediately better - cares about statistics that do matter in life.
The only number that matters for Matthew is class rank.
He is No. 1.
He was No. 1 in the ninth grade, and he will be No. 1 when he graduates in May.
Matthew is on schedule to be the valedictorian, the top student in a class of 391. He has more than two college semesters of credit already under his belt.
His grade point average - weighted heavier for taking the toughest classes available anywhere to a high school student - is 5.029 a scale that normally tops out at 4.0.
In biology class, his lab partner and friend, Brian Peterson, is also in the top five at the school.
"The guy is ridiculous," Peterson said. "The smartest in the class, the whole school - anywhere."
In the hallways, other students make the same prediction.
"Matthew Harvey is going be president."
Not president of the student body - Matthew is already that. When the subject is Matthew Harvey, the only subject is No. 1. President means "The President." The President of the United States.
"It happens every day, the students here say they want Matthew to remember them, because they say he is going to be president," said Suzy Tolson, who teaches Matthew advanced-placement calculus.
No 'Harvey Watch'
Of all the Beta Club students in America, the best of the best, Matthew is ranked third in English.
When Matthew walks down the hallways at Nation Ford, there are no call-outs from reporters asking about colleges.
No students wondering if Matthew will be on CNN or ESPN or any TV show or website that sets up star high school athletes for failure - if that athlete winds up anywhere short of a star on the next level.
No magazines come to do cover shoots and call him "a freak" for his incredible test scores.
No daily "Matthew Harvey" watch, with boosters at colleges foaming at the mouth hoping to watch him ace a chemistry test at their school.
A cable TV sports network will not carry his choice of colleges, live, in a few weeks as it will today for top football prospect Jadeveon Clowney of South Pointe High School.
That is not Clowney's fault. He is the best high school football player in America, according to all these sports people who make heroes out of teenage athletes.
Clowney dominated any and all he opposed. He hammered opponents to the turf. He has undoubtedly worked hard for all of it.
We should all wish him the best as he chooses a college, a school that will have its fans doing back-flips over landing him to play football.
Matthew Harvey does no back flips. He hammers tests and homework. Alone, into the night, he practices his game technique. Hours and hours each night, as athletes do hours and hours of practice and weightlifting surrounded by dozens of coaches.
Then the next day at school, without ever lifting a dumbbell, Matthew hauls that heavy bag of textbooks and his brain from class to class where he never, ever, loses.
Yet outside of Nation Ford High School, nobody has ever heard of Matthew Harvey. Because nobody has ever asked to look.
All we see is which prized athlete is being chased by big-time sports factories. Even athletes going to small-time schools get attention.
Some high school students, surely, will be able to use athletic prowess for college scholarships. But most who gave all those uncountable hours to athletics will not get a dime toward college - or a job - for their investment in sports.
For his investment in grades, Matthew gets bundles of mail from hundreds of colleges. His parents and guidance counselor take the recruiting calls.
"He is our Jadeveon Clowney," said Charles Drakeford, a guidance counselor at Nation Ford who takes those phone calls from college recruiters who see Matthew Harvey's test scores and class rank and other achievements where he stands out. "Everybody wants him."
Drakeford is also an assistant football coach at the school who spends far more time telling players to study more physics.
Guys like Drakeford know that sports has its place. It might help a few kids go to college, but it is the brain that gets more kids into college and serves them throughout life.
There are mandatory practices of two and three hours for sports in all area high schools, five days a week for months, plus weightlifting and conditioning. There are coaches who gladly spend their time with these teens as youngsters spend so many of their finite hours on sports, because practice is mandatory.
There are no mandatory two- and three-hour study periods anywhere for kids who might go to college by brains. No paid assistants for college prep who are at schools into the dark hours for those kids who want to practice their game, which is academic excellence.
Advanced-placement biology teacher Reva Melton described Matthew with one word. Not "brilliant," which he is. Not "gifted," which he is.
When Matthew leaves biology, he asks Melton, "Please look at the essay part of my test. I believe it to be exactly what was asked, and more."
See, Matthew has to work at his greatness just as any athlete blessed with great physical skills must hone those skills and practice. And he expects to win.
His parents would have it no other way.
Just one 'B'
Darryl Harvey, the father, is an electrical engineer who grew up in rural Mississippi. He was the valedictorian of his high school class, too, the son of a truck driver.
Sally Harvey, who grew up in the same rural Mississippi town and did not have a family heritage of college, went to college, too. She has raised the two Harvey children, and now attends graduate school at Winthrop University.
"Our families wanted what families should want," said Darryl Harvey, "which is their children to excel and achieve all they can in school, even if they did not have that chance at school themselves."
In the Harvey living room, there is a television. It is not turned on. A daughter, Hannah, in the eighth grade and the top student in her class, already has picked out her profession.
"Surgeon," she said.
The family, for trips, goes to museums and places where kids can learn and have fun at the same time.
"All we have ever stressed is that we expect our children to do the very best each can do," Sally Harvey said. "Both our children are self-motivated. They push themselves. Matthew expects the very best from himself."
One time, just once, Matthew Harvey received a "B" grade.
"It was a 92," Matthew said of the grade that is just one point below an "A." "I felt terrible."
'School came first'
On most nights, when Darryl and Sally Harvey go to bed, Matthew is still awake. There is no Facebook on a computer, or "Jersey Shore" on TV. Matthew is up late studying. He has been that way his whole young life.
"Matthew started talking when he was 5 months old," Darryl Harvey said. "His mother had him reading long before he started school."
In first grade, Matthew came home from school one time, crying.
"The other kids said they wouldn't play with me any more if I got another 100 grade," Matthew remembered.
His parents told him to keep working hard, and real friends would stick by him.
In 2003, a hole in his heart, and a faulty heart valve, almost killed Matthew. Surgery saved him. Matthew went right back to the books when he left the hospital.
By high school, Matthew was playing soccer, varsity as a ninth grader. But after two years, there was no more soccer even if he was good at it.
"School came first," Matthew said.
That is always the Harvey family way. School comes first.
Matthew does have friends at school, and he is student body president and in a few other clubs, but grades are what matters. College matters. Doors opening into life, said Darryl Harvey, opportunities, matter.
"Nobody ever sprained their brain taking a test," Darryl Harvey said. "Athletes can have choices end with an injury. Education cannot be injured."
Stadiums or supercomputers?
The Harveys moved to Fort Mill when Darryl took a job at Springs Industries many years ago. They chose Fort Mill for the schools, as have so many families over the years in a district that claims to be among the best, if not the best, in South Carolina for academics.
But Darryl Harvey questions the emphasis placed on sports not just in Fort Mill, but anywhere else. Darryl Harvey was an athlete himself in high school, but his brain got him to where he is today, not his legs.
"Fort Mill has cut remedial reading and Spanish," Darryl Harvey said. "but we have a new football stadium.
"Think of the supercomputer that our school district could have built with those millions, the dreams that children could unlock, with that computer."
In York County in just the past few years, more than $15 million has been spent on brand new football fields for high school players to show off their skills.
There are fields of artificial turf in Rock Hill and York so players can run faster, and scoreboards that light up the night.
Rock Hill threw a big party when ESPN came to the city to televise high school football last summer.
Those millions are not just on the conscience of all the school boards and the administrators and coaches who promote sports.
Darryl Harvey knows and will tell anyone, that we, the public, the parents, let schools get away with this. We let them because we, as a community, love sports, yet do not put it in its proper place.
"The priorities are just in the wrong place," said Darryl Harvey.
'A rare commodity'
Star students like Matthew Harvey love sports, too.
He holds a black belt in tae kwon do. He ran cross-country at Nation Ford this past fall and went to practice every day and ran miles and miles and miles as the sweat dripped off his face.
He still did all his work at home at night after practice and meets. He still received top grades.
Matthew has yet to choose a college because the Ivy League schools have not yet sent out acceptance letters.
"But this is the reality about admissions," said Darryl Harvey, the father, who deals only in the reality of life as a black man who expects his son to do as well, or better, than anybody else.
Darryl Harvey knows statistics that show black males do not achieve at the level of other students. He will not accept that in his home.
It is Darryl Harvey who talks to so many college recruiters, in honest terms, about his son.
"Matthew is a rare commodity, far too rare because we all can do better," Darryl Harvey said. "He is an African-American male who is the top student in his class, and among the best students in this country.
"The best colleges want black students, and they want my son."
Darryl is not bragging about his son. He just speaks the truth.
Colleges that are almost all white are beating down the Harveys' door to get Matthew, his parents said. Matthew would give that college diversity at the very top of admissions, and not just on any playing field on television.
Nobody should be shocked by this. Darryl and Sally Harvey are not shocked or bothered by this. Matthew is not bothered, either.
'I know I can'
Matthew considers all scholarship offers because he strives not just to be the best black student, he will only accept being the best student - period.
Although nothing is finite and the list could change, Matthew has narrowed down his college choices to the very best in America: Harvard and Yale and Princeton, Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania.
And yet Matthew Harvey is so humble that talking to him about his achievements is difficult. He is no braggart.
"I just expect a lot of myself, because I know I can do the work," Matthew said. "The only person I would be letting down if I don't do the very best is myself."
Matthew Harvey said he plans on being a lawyer someday. Will he be president?
Nobody will ever ask him what he bench presses, though - in college, or law school, or anywhere else that Matthew Harvey competes. They will look at his back because all will be behind him in line.
We will have to imagine, because there are no jerseys in academics, the big No. 1 on his back.