JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Year two of qualifying for the Division II Cross-Country National Championships takes Luke Greer to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as he closes out his last cross-country season as an Eagle.
"I think last year there was no expectation," Greer said of his first trip to the Championships. "This year I've had a bit more expectation, I know what I'm going into, I'm ready for the race. I think overall my whole preparation in terms of the whole season has gone a lot better."
After having a breakout season last year, a lot of eyes were on Greer going into this season. He won the Lenoir-Rhyne Invitational to begin the year and every race after he finished in the top ten. He came in 7th at the Queens City Invite, 5th at the Royals Challenge, and second at both the SAC Championships and the Region Championships. During this season he set school records for the 8-kilometer and 10-kilometer distances.
Going into the National Championships Greer has set personal goals for this race and is looking to improve on his performance from last year. Coming in 42nd place he was just shy of All-American status and has high expectations for himself this year.
"Two places off All-American was bittersweet." Greer said. "This year I'm just going to try to do two places better and try and get in that All-American top-40."
Greer credits loads of his success to the new cross-country coach, Eric Phillips. He mentions not only his success as an individual, but the teams' improvement as a whole as well and believes Phillips work was beneficial for everyone during this season.
"It's been very beneficial to have someone here specifically for cross-country," Greer said. "He's focused on everybody, he's made sure everybody got their training in, and we've had a lot more accountability."
Phillips has had high praise for Greer and his work ethic throughout the season and is confident that he's ready for the course in Pittsburgh and knows what to expect.
"We've arrived in Pittsburgh and you can feel the excitement in the air," Phillips said. "We've been back and forth over the course several times and we're confident that Luke knows every hill in that park like the back of his hand. Between the snow melting and the rain forecasted here in town the next couple of days the course is already a muddy mess, but you can tell that Luke is dialed in and ready to roll. A little mud and some hills is nothing he's not physically or mentally prepared for. He's fit, he's healthy, and he's ready to duke it out with the best of the best."
Originally coming to Carson-Newman as a soccer athlete, Greer enjoyed transitioning to competing for a different team on campus his last couple years. He hopes to end his cross-country career on a high note at the Championships before jumping right into the track and field season coming up.
The men's 10-kilometer race will be at 11 a.m. Saturday morning at the Bob O'Connor Golf Course at Schenley Park and will be hosted by Slippery Rock University.
To see whether Greer freezes his fingers off in chilly Pennsylvania or earns the All-American honor, you can follow along and find more information at the following links:
(Pay-Per-View Provided by FloTrack)
And as always, check back on cneagles.com for all news and updates!
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