Jack Becker

School: Lower Moreland

Cross Country/Track & Field



Favorite athlete: Joel Embiid

Favorite team: I can’t choose between my two favorite Philly sports teams so Sixers and Eagles

Favorite memory competing in sports: Winning the District 1 championship in cross country

Most embarrassing/funniest thing that has happened while competing in sports: During a basketball game in middle school, I jumped to block a shot, and I tripped over my feet and ran into a wall. Or the time I almost sprained my ankle on a crab apple 15 minutes before my race.

Music on my playlist: Before the races, I listen to rap, but otherwise, I’ll listen to country and 80s music.

Future plans: Run in college at East Stroudsburg and then become a teacher.

Words to live by: “When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you will be successful.” -Eric Thomas

One goal before turning 30: Win an NCAA D2 championship

One thing people don’t know about me: I started running distance in freshman year because I got bored of soccer and started taking running real serious since sophomore year.


After middle school, Jack Becker had grown weary of soccer, the sport he had pretty much played since he could walk.

A freshman at Lower Moreland High School, he decided to give running – cross-country and track – a shot.

Little did he know that he’d hit the bull’s eye.

Now a senior, Becker is a district champion in cross-country and will be continuing his career as a distance runner at East Stroudsburg University.

“If you asked him two years ago, he would have never believed he was going to be a district champion,” said coach Greg Green, who has coached Becker in cross-country the last two years and in winter and spring track the last four. “He worked hard and kept learning the sport, and he got better at it.”

Green’s assessment that Becker never would have predicted the level of progressive success, which continued recently when he broke the school record in the 3000 meters (ranked 13th in the state) at an indoor meet at Penn State, is accurate.

Becker would not have believed it either.

“Absolutely not,” said Becker. “It was more like just giving it a shot to see what would happen. I’m still thinking, ‘Wow, this is how far I came,’ when I look back on my freshman year. Then, when I start to think of all the work I put it, I know that I deserve to be here.”

Green can confirm this self-assessment.

“This is just a young man that really worked hard,” he said. “He had talent, but his hard work is what made him successful. It’s his commitment to the sport and the sacrifices that he makes. He’s just such a coachable kid. He has really listened well and learned a lot about the sport.”

Getting Infected

Green calls it the “The Bug,” and once a runner gets it, there really is no known cure.

Such was the case with Becker.

“They’re the best to coach,” said Green. “I love those types of kids. Running is a hard sport, mentally and physically. Half of the battle is convincing the kids to get out and do the work.”

“Once they catch that bug, which is what I call it, then it becomes so much easier to coach them. That’s what he did. He caught the bug. Once you do, you are going to be successful.”

While it’s hard to nail down exactly when the bug hit, Becker has a pretty good idea.

“It was probably going into my sophomore year,” he said. “In my freshman year, when everything shut down for two weeks (due to COVID), I trained pretty hard for a month.

“I was getting up and getting all of my runs in. I would get up at like 5:20-5:30 and do eight miles of work and go for another three or four in the afternoon.”

From there, Becker’s steady ascension began.

“I’ve watched him really develop over the years,” said Green. “He went from an average, or even below average, runner to someone who is now one of the best in the state.”

Turning the Key

Green, a teacher in the Philadelphia School District, has been coaching track for a long time.

His wisdom is a gift that Becker was ready, willing and able to unwrap.

“I have a lot of experience coaching, and he has really taken it in,” said Green. “He has bought into what I was trying to sell. That’s what has made him really successful. If I tell him to run through a wall to get better, he’ll run through the wall.

“He has progressed steadily because of his training. He is just consistent. He doesn’t miss a beat. He doesn’t have excuses. I try to teach the kids that, if you just put the work in, you are going to be good at it. You just have to put the work in, and he put the work in.”

That symbiotic relationship was never more in play than at the District One cross-country championship meet, when Becker out-maneuvered primary rival Kieran Chambers of Holy Ghost Prep to pull away with a final kick.

“(Green) just told me to run my race,” recalled Becker. “My coach is definitely the reason I’m in the position that I’m in.

“In the district meet, I just thought about all the work I had done over the summer. I caught up to him and had a little more left in the tank than I thought I did. In the last 15-20 meters, I ended up pulling away to win the race.”

Leading the Way

Becker realizes that his stature on the team comes with responsibility, and that is to be a leader for the younger Lions.

“I think I’m a pretty good leader,” he said. “I know the underclassmen all look up to me. I know that if I messed around and didn’t take anything seriously, they would most likely end up doing the same thing.”

Added Green: “He is a great leader for the team. He’s a great example for the young kids, and cares about the young kids.”

While his intense training leaves little time for school activities, Becker maintains a 3.73 GPA.

“Track takes up so much of my time,” he said. “When I’m home, I just make sure to get all of my work done and make sure I’m on top of all of my grades.”

Becker looks to emerge from East Stroudsburg, which he chose in a tough call over Bloomsburg, trained to be a math teacher.

“I really didn’t want a big school like Penn State,” he explained.  “I asked myself, ‘If I wasn’t running in college, would I still want to go there?’ I just really liked the campus, the atmosphere.

“Once I decided, I knew I could relax a little bit more.”

In addition to his parents (Terry and Rich), Becker wanted to give a nod to all his teammates over the years.

“My teammates have been there for me through everything, and are basically like my family at this point,” he said.