Each Sunday during the 2017-18 school year, the Carson-Newman athletic communications department will shine a spotlight on a current or former Carson-Newman student athlete to tell a tale of life outside of his or her respective sport. This is the story of Luke Greer.
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. - Luke Greer (Abington, United Kingdom) is off to one of the greatest starts in Carson-Newman cross country history. The senior has already picked up two victories in events that involved four or more teams during the 2017 season. Greer is the first runner in at least five years to accomplish this feat.
The senior's first win of the season came at the Tusculum Open where he finished first in the five-kilometer run with a time of 15:38. During the meet the Abington, United Kingdom native defeated 55 individuals and fellow South Atlantic Conference rival teams Tusculum and Lincoln Memorial.
In the second meet of the year Greer followed up his first win by winning his second event, the Asheville Cross Country Invitational. Greer ran the four-mile course in 20:15.91. Not only did the senior beat five Division I opponents, but he also outran 99 individuals during the competition.
Greer had no expectations of joining the cross country team for Carson-Newman, originally he was only a member of the men's soccer team.
"I only spoke to (former Carson-Newman) soccer coach Richard Moodie during the recruiting process." Greer replied, "Carson-Newman was an easy choice to make because Moodie was great in telling you what you were going to get when you came here. The year that I came in the men's team was coming off of a national championship game appearance. So, it was a major draw for me to go to a program that was successful and that was a winning program."
It was not until after the 2014 summer preseason soccer camp that Greer began to get noticed not only by Moodie and his teammates, but also by the cross country and track team coaches.
"I told coach Moodie about my running ability but he just saw me coming in to play soccer." Greer said, "I think after the preseason that we had and I was lapping the rest of the boys on the team."
Former Carson-Newman goalie and current Eagle soccer coach Kavi Luchowa remembered how much drive Greer had during that first preseason summer camp.
"Luke is a very competitive person in everything he does." Luchowa replied, "He always wanted to be the best in training and always wanted to win. He was always a quality runner in preseason he was the one who would lap us during training sessions."
On the soccer pitch Greer played goalie behind Luchowa. Greer made one appearance during the Eagles 2015 SAC regular season championship run. Greer made two saves during a shootout in the SAC Championship semifinals loss against Queens.
From his freshman to junior years of college, Greer was only able to compete in half of the cross country events as he focused on two sports. The Englishman made the most of his opportunities on the cross country trail by posting the top time on the roster. In his first career race Greer paced the Eagle cross country team with a time of 27:15.5 in the Royals Cross Country challenge.
Assistant cross country coach Christian Brewer has been working with Carson-Newman a little over a year and he recalled the first time he saw Greer compete in a cross country event.
"I think that we saw that he had all the tools to be an incredible runner and I've never seen anyone run so efficiently over the longer distances." Brewer replied, "You have a lot of high school guys that can run a five-kilometer race but they struggle at the longer distances. Luke showed that he had that potential with no training at all. We were really excited and we knew that it was only a matter of time before he was successful on the course."
With both sports falling during the same season, Greer realized that high school had set him up for success at the college level. While in high school Greer participated in three sports, soccer, cross country and table tennis.
"The school I went to really pushed playing sports, so you were always involved in multiple sports." Greer said, "At lunch time I would play table tennis, after school one day I would do soccer and on other days I would run cross country. Outside of school I would also have club soccer. I was doing a lot of work and I think for me it was good to do a lot of work because it allowed me to get involved in everything and see how good I could be at different sports."
Time management was an important skill that Greer had to learn while in college as he found himself balancing academics, soccer and cross country all during the same semester. The young athlete found himself adhering to a strict daily schedule so that he could accomplish all of his goals.
"It was definitely tough and I was tired a lot of the time." Greer recounted, "I'd go to cross country practice in the morning and then go to soccer practice in the afternoon. I think that it was a lot of planning to make sure that I was ready and on time to not only to practice but class as well."
After his junior year of college Greer decided that he wanted to focus solely on cross country and to see how far he could push himself during his senior season.
"Before, I was mainly focused on soccer than I was on cross country." Greer said, "Now, focusing mainly on the running, I have proven to myself how good I can be and how good I can grow and continue to be. I'm proud of the training because now I'm seeing the improvement and I'm getting stronger and faster."
The tools that Greer learned as a member of the Carson-Newman soccer team have helped him transition into becoming a successful cross country runner.
"I think that the high pressured situations in soccer made me mentally stronger. Especially, running by yourself you are trying to succeed for yourself. I think that it helped me grow mentally and get stronger and have that will to succeed for myself."
Greer has high expectations of himself to finish out the 2017 cross country season. "I'm hoping to pull out another win at the home meet (Allen and Phyllis Morgan Invitational-Battle at Mossy Creek) next week. Hopefully I will perform well enough at the conference and regional meets to earn a spot at nationals this season."