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Speer named track and cross country coach at Blake

Posted May 31, 2011 by Bill Ward

Updated May 31, 2011 at 04:27 PM

Eric Speer is coming home and giving back.

Speer, a former Blake track star and one of the fastest collegiate 800-meter runners the county has ever produced, has been named boys and girls cross country coach, as well as girls track coach, at his alma mater.

“It’s just a surreal feeling right now,” said Speer, an all-state performer in both track and cross country during his 2001-02 season at Blake. “I’m just overwhelmed with happiness. It feels like I’ve come full circle.”

Speer said he hopes not only to guide the careers of promising athletes at Blake on the track, but also help them away from the sport. Having experienced plenty of personal and family issues himself as a high school runner, he says he can offer advice about such adversities.

“I was a kid who you can say was a little rough around the edges,” Speer said. “I struggled a lot sometimes with all the things that was going on in my family. But running always gave me a focus and a purpose and it still does.”

Following his prep career, Speer went on to earn all-American status annd earn four conference titles for Jackson (Miss.) State University, He eventually lowered his 800 personal best to 1:48 and twice qualified for the NCAA outdoor finals.

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