Track team’s Greer dealing with new physical tests in sophomore season

Marshall University sophomore Naja Greer has made a commendable impact on the women’s track team since joining the Herd, but this season she’s been faced with a physical obstacle that extends beyond the mileage she’s covered on the track.

Greer was diagnosed with diabetes earlier this season and suddenly had to manage more than her schoolwork and athletic commitments.

Greer said while a serious disease was an unexpected addition to her priority list, she’s been trying to appropriately adapt her lifestyle and diet to meet the new demands.

“I just take it one day at a time. It’s still hard trying to adjust to it, eating the right foods and checking my sugar levels,” Greer said.

Greer said many people believe because she is an athlete, her eating habits are already suited to deal with the disease. However, she admitted she has always had poor eating habits, and said she’s had to devote greater awareness to what types of foods she eats.

Greer said she’s committed to making the changes and won’t let the diagnosis derail her track career, which saw much success in her first season with the program.

“Once finding out about my disease I knew it wasn’t going to stop me from running track,” Greer said. “I know athletes who have had it and still participated, I know it’s possible.” 

Greer’s accomplishments last year included being a member of the 800-meter and 1600-meter relay teams that set new school records.

Even with the new burden of diabetes, Greer has been looking to rekindle the achievements of her freshman season, but she sustained a minor hamstring strain and has been forced to sit out the team’s past two meets.

Greer is set to rejoin her team to compete at the University of Virginia Challenge track meet Friday, and she said it feels good to be back heading into the season’s home stretch.

“It was just a slight strain, so I’m really excited about finishing off this season,” Greer said.

Greer is registered to compete in the 200-meter dash and the 400-meter dash at the event.

Beyond the UVA Challenge, Greer said she is hopeful to make up for the time she was sidelined this season.

“I just want to finish this season strong and hopefully place at conference,” Greer said.

The Herd has the Penn Relays and Kentucky Relays in addition to Friday’s meet before the Conference USA Outdoor Championships May 12 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Danielle Wright can be contacted at [email protected]