It was no surprise to Midland High Cross Country Coach, Marty Hollenbeck, to have two athletes representing Midland High in the State Cross Country Meet on Saturday at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, MI.
Jacob Greer, a 17 year old junior, will compete at the State meet for the first time on Saturday. He has been running since 3rd grade and has never lost the passion. Earlier this season he received his personal record time of 15’56 for the 3.1 mile race, and this still is not good enough for Jacob. During the State Meet he has set a goal to finish in under 15’40, and Coach Hollenbeck agrees that it is very doable for Jake. Coach Hollenbeck confidently states that Jacob is one of the top 50 runners in the state. “Jacob has really improved over the summer, he is a very intense runner…and VERY smart” says Coach Hollenbeck. Going into this weekend Jacob assures people, “It’s just another race, same as all the others.” He plans on going into the race just as the others during the season. “I will go through my normal warm up, listening to music…Lose Yourself by Eminem and then into my active warm up” Next Jacob proceeds to stretch like a former Midland Chemic, Miles Kilbreath, who attended the State meet in 2012. “I’m not even sure what it stretches, but it’s just what I do” says Jacob. He wants to break ever record he can while at Midland High, starting with this weekend. In the future Jacob has a desire to compete in Cross Country at the college level, potentially at the division one level.
Amy Smith, a 15 year old sophomore, will also be competing for the first time at the State meet. Amy’s story is a bit different having just started running competitively in high school, at Midland High. Growing up Amy played soccer but was introduced to running by her Mom by competing in road races. Running is nothing new to the Smith family; Amy has been encouraged and mentored by her siblings who are alumnus to the Midland High School Cross Country team. During the 2013 season Amy created a personal record of 19’47 but strives to finish below 19’30 during this weekend’s meet. Coach Hollenbeck is excited to have Amy at the State meet, “I’ve always known she has had the potential to compete with the best, she just needed to believe in herself” says Coach. With this in mind Amy knows that she needs to enter the race with a positive attitude
Both, Jacob and Amy, know that practice this week is going to be different without the rest of the team by their side but they are staying focused. They both agree the key to success in this meet it to catch the person in front of you, one person at a time. Coach Hollenbeck confirms this week of practice will focus on sharpening their skills. When asking Coach Hollenbeck what he has to say to these athletes competing with the elite he says “Take in the moment, this is a great opportunity. Although it is hard in the moment, try to appreciate where you are. You are competing with the best.”