A captain more than just motivates. They lead with the experience of both life’s the ups and downs.
WSU men's track and field captain and sprinter Greg Hornsby has the qualities and character of a strong leader after overcoming those downs.
Growing up in Marina Valley, Calif., people didn’t see Hornsby as a great athlete. Entering high school, running track was all Hornsby could really participate in because of his size.
“I wanted to play football or basketball, but I wasn’t big enough to play either sport,” Hornsby said. “I just decided to do track instead.”
When Hornsby first participated in track and field at Rancho Verde High School, he struggled and didn't perform at a high level.
“I wasn’t good, but stuck with it,” Hornsby said. “I soon got better.”
It wasn’t until his senior year of high school that Hornsby broke out of his shell and became a stand-out sprinter.
“Senior year, I just blossomed,” Hornsby said.
At the California state track meet, Hornsby caught the eye of one of the WSU sprinter coaches after running a solid leg in the 4x4 meter race.
After talking with the WSU faculty, Hornsby visited Pullman and immediately knew this was the place for him.
“I fell in love with the campus, and the rest is history,” he said.
Once Hornsby stepped onto the campus, his drive and determination to succeed kicked in full gear, giving Hornsby something to work for.
“My freshman year, I put in the back of my head that when I get to my senior year I want to be the captain,” he said.
Hornsby’s biggest achievement of his running career came during his sophomore year at WSU when he was part of the 4x1 relay team that won the Pac-10 Championship. Hornsby also took Second-Team All-American in the 4x4 relay.
However, injuries to his hamstring have prevented Hornsby from building on that success.
“I have horrible hamstrings,” Hornsby said. “I’ve been injured almost every year here at WSU. It’s frustrating because when you get to a certain level and then you are back to square one again.”
Hornsby has battled back from his multiple injuries, performing at a higher level.
“I think that’s the reason why Coach Sloan selected me to be captain,” Hornsby said. “I have the ability to battle through struggles and still perform at a high level. Overall, Coach Sloan sees that I have the will to win.”
Besides his perseverance, his character and personality also qualify Hornsby as the men’s track and field team captain.
“I’m the type of person that wants to lead by example,” Hornsby said. “I lead on and off the track and in the classroom.”
It doesn’t hurt that Hornsby is a sociology major and is pursuing a minor in business administration. His ability to learn and work with people transfers to his leadership on the track.
“I am a good people person,” Hornsby said. “I like getting to know people and why people do certain things.”
Hornsby knows what it takes to be a captain, but can also focus on himself as an individual.
“I make sure I handle my stuff first because you can’t lead a team if you’re not taking care of yourself,” he said. “When it’s my time to do something I handle it the best way that I can.”
Hornsby hopes to have a solid final season at WSU and make it back to the Pac-12 championships, which will hopefully lead him to a career in sprinting.
“If everything goes right this year, I will definitely take a chance on that and maybe go overseas,” he said. “I’ve had a great run with track and field, and that’s something I’ve always loved. It’s always going to be in me.”