By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – After jaw surgery cost Kolby Greiner his entire freshman track season he wasn’t sure exactly what to expect this spring.
Just a few weeks into the season the results have been a shock for the West High sophomore.
In his first season on the track Greiner has wasted little time proving himself as one of the top distance runners in the state.
Greiner has posted the third fastest 1,600 time in the state this season at 4:27.49 and holds the seventh fastest time in the 3,200.
“Last year after having that early jaw surgery I didn’t even think I had a 4:27 mile in me,” Greiner said. “I am very surprised to be where I am.”
The strong early season results have come as a surprise to Greiner and West High second-year head coach T.J. Craig.
How Greiner went about putting himself in position for a breakthrough sophomore season hasn’t been a surprise to Craig.
One week after placing 10th at the state cross country meet in October, Greiner and teammate Ali Ali began prepping for the track season.
That work has paid off quickly this season.
“Am I surprised at where his speed is? Absolutely, but there is no doubt that with all the training he did this winter and the competitor he is that he has tremendous potential,” Craig said of Greiner. “When you add those two things together, I don’t think there is any level to what he can do.”
Craig has coached Greiner since seventh grade cross country where he instantly saw his potential.
Even with four years together Craig didn’t envision this type of a start to the season for Greiner who has clocked a 9:42.3 in the 3,200 already this season.
“I have been coaching him since seventh grade in cross country so this is my fourth year with him and we are only two years into high school but I don’t think anybody knows where he can go,” Craig said. “There is no doubt he has a high engine and there is no doubt there is a lot of things he can do and I’ve just told him don’t put a limit on yourself at this point.”
Greiner and Ali team up to give West High one of the top distance duos in the state.
They finished first and second in both the 1,600 and 3,200 at the John Ask Relays in Cedar Rapids last week with Greiner winning both events.
They also give each other constant competition and this winter they provided each other motivation as they trained together through the difficult winter months.
“We had one day where it was negative 10 and it was snowing and we had to do a track workout and we still did it,” Greiner said. “I kept telling Ali there is no one in the state crazier than you and I right now to be doing this workout. We were pretty driven this winter.”
That commitment is paying off on the track this spring.
Greiner and Ali have been instrumental in helping West High win the team titles at its first three outdoor meets.
“It’s more of a team effort this year,” Greiner said. “Coming back from that one year where we only scored four points at the state meet as a team I think we really have a shot this year at being in the top three or winning it. I think we are on the right path this year.”
The 1,600 and 3,200 are the regular events for both Ali and Greiner but neither is hesitant to help out in other events.
They both ran legs on the West High 4×800 relay team that clocked the fourth fastest time in the state this season.
“Kolby and Ali have not only impressed me in the 1,600 and the 3,200 mile but in the 4×800, you can put them in there and they will say ‘lets go’,” Craig said. “They are willing to do whatever you ask them to do.”