Cross-Country Gears up for Southeast Region Championship

Cross-Country Gears up for Southeast Region Championship

VIDEO: Eric Phillips Interview

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman cross country teams are all set and ready for the Southeast Regional Championship in Oak Wood, Georgia. 

"The atmosphere is just excitement." Coach Eric Phillips said. "This is what we've been training for since June. The course is fast and flat, so we've been hitting the hills and strength and we're ready for tough courses. So, when we get the opportunity to show up at a flat and fast course like we had in Charlotte a couple times earlier in the season the results usually worked out in our favor so there's a lot of excitement." 

The Eagles have had a successful season under the coaching of Phillips with Luke Greer (Abington, Northampton, United Kingdom) and Rachel Strayer (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) being the standouts for the team. Greer has finished in the top ten of all four races ran this season. Not only did Greer throw down a school record at the Queens City Royals Challenge but his second place finish in the South Atlantic Conference earned him First-Team All-Conference.

Strayer has had a solid debut as a collegiate runner finishing 13thin her very first race at the college level at the Lenoir-Rhyne Invitational. Following that, she finished 24that the Queens City Invite and 31stat the Royals Challenge clinching a school record the second time around at the event hosted by Queens. 

Kathie O'Neill (Sevierville, Tenn.) who has run as a redshirt the entire season, finally got the go ahead to put back on the uniform and run for it to count during the SAC championship where she finished 11thand earned Second Team All-Conference. 

"We have a family back together, plain and simple." Phillips said of O'Neill's return. "The girl's are ready to go out there and turn some heads again."

The rest of the teams have had success of their own as every runner on both the mens and womens teams has set a personal record at a race this season. Some have done so more than once. 

"It's really because we're doing this as a family." Phillips said. "We're putting the work in, every workout is a mini business trip and every race is a big business trip. When we go out there there's an atmosphere of 'we're here to work' and 'we're here to push each other.' The pecking order has changed quite a lot every single race, but that's just because each one of us is pushing each other and pushing ourselves to be our best." 

The two teams will hit the course at UNG Gainesville's campus Saturday morning. Men will run at 9 a.m. and women at 10:30 a.m. To keep up with what's happening and see the results of the races check back on or follow @cnathletics on Instagram and twitter. 

- CN -