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Latrobe runner Hanna Green leaves Virginia Tech with medals, records galore

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Virginia Tech Athletics
Latrobe product Hanna Green capped her career at Virginia Tech by placing second in the 800-meter run at the NCAA championships.
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Virginia Tech Athletics
Track & Field NCAA outdoor Championships at Eugene, Ore.

Hanna Green went to Virginia Tech as a highly decorated track athlete with modest expectations for the next level.

At Latrobe, Green was a WPIAL Class AAA champion and a PIAA medalist. Her times were solid, but Green did not draw considerable interest from Division I programs.

Green wanted to major in interior design. A few schools Green came in contact with during the recruiting process did not allow student-athletes to follow that field of study. Virginia Tech did, and in Green, the Hokies found one of the top runners in their history — she has the medals and school records to prove it.

“What she has is pretty rare,” Virginia Tech middle distance coach Ben Thomas said. “She was good in high school, but she didn’t carry that feeling that she was like a superstar. There’s a tremendous capacity to do work. She’s not afraid to work, and that’s how she got better.”

At Latrobe, Green’s best time in the 800-meter run was 2 minutes, 16.39 seconds. Her specialty was the 400, but Virginia Tech saw potential in the 800 and 1,500. So, Green, blessed with exceptional endurance for a middle-distance runner, went to work.

“My first year, I would have been happy if I ran a 2:10,” Green said. “I never expected to take off like I did.”

She capped her collegiate career at the NCAA championships June 10 with a second-place finish in the 800. Her time of 2:01.32 was just shy of her school record. As usual, Green raced with the front of the pack. She passed Shea Hollingsworth of BYU in the final turn and held off Oregon’s Brooke Feldmeier down the stretch to earn silver behind Oregon’s Raevyn Rogers, the NCAA 800 record-holder.

“I’m happy with it,” Green said. “Obviously, I would have liked to win, but when you go up against the collegiate record-holder, the best that’s ever been in that race, it’s a good feeling. The past few years, I’ve been getting closer and closer.”

Given Green’s steady but remarkable progression, she believes her times can continue to improve as she trains for the USATF championships, which begin Friday in Sacramento, Calif., and eyes a professional career and Olympic aspirations.

“If the NCAA kept a record on improvement in an event, she’d be the collegiate record-holder,” Thomas said. “What she’s done is probably unprecedented. It was a huge step up.”

Green’s collegiate career started with what she calls a “disastrous” cross country season. Her early struggles served as motivation. It didn’t take long for Green to make her mark.

She won six ACC outdoors championships. She holds school records in the 600 (indoor), 800 (indoor and outdoor), 1,500, Olympic Development mile and as part of the 1,600 and 3,200 relay teams. As a senior, Green was first-team All-American in indoor and outdoor, and she holds ACC championship meet marks.

Her individual success helped Virginia Tech win the conference title this season. According to Thomas, the Hokies would not have won without the selfless efforts of Green, who ran multiple events to help her team.

“I wasn’t highly recruited out of high school, but I got lucky by going to Virginia Tech,” Green said. “When I first got here, I was worried I would get cut before track season, even though the coaches wouldn’t have done that. It was a huge transition that I didn’t expect. But I didn’t give up. I kept working, and once I tasted success, I just wanted more.”

Mike Kovak is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter @MKovak_Trib.

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