On Oct.18, Magnolia Senior James Haught finished his regular cross country season and achieved the goal he set for himself before the season began. "I really wanted to do my best this year, and I told my parents I wanted to make top 10 in every meet the team was in this year. I knew if I did that I would be able to return to the state meet for my senior year, where I hoped to place in the top 20." That's just what Haught did.
His seventh place overall finish at the Doddridge Region I meet qualified Haught to return to the state meet at Cabell Midland High School one last time. That meet, Oct. 27, was cold and rainy, just as it was for Haught's first visit his freshman year, where he placed 69th overall.
This year would be totally different. The race began with everyone battling to get up front the first mile. The second mile saw the leaders thinning out some. With the final mile, the race for top spots began. Nick Trefz, a senior at Fairmont Senior came in first at 15:52, followed by Caleb Moore of Doddridge, and Johnny Hogue of Ritchie County coming in at 16:04 and 16:11 respectively, earning first team WV A-AA Honors along with seven other athletes from around the state.
Haught finished in 17th place, earning second team WV AAA honors with a time of 17:11. "It was great racing with these guys and awesome to finish the race meeting all the goals I set for myself this season. I just really wish my whole team had been here," Haught said. "They all pushed hard this year and I really wish all the new runners had been able to be here and experience the State meet. But, now I need to get ready for track."
Haught, a four time medalist at the West Virginia State Track and Field meet and a member of the 2011 State AA Championship Team, has also set a goal for his final track season at Magnolia. A return to the state meet to compete once again in the 800m race. "I wasn't happy being boxed in last year during the race and getting sixth. This year, I want to blow them away."
To get ready for his mid- to long-distance races, Haught trains in the off season by competing in road races around the Ohio Valley. He most recently ran in the Veteran's 10K race in Wheeling held this past Saturday. Haught, as well as another local talent, Cameron Benson, a cross country runner for West Liberty University, competed in Saturday's tribute to our Veterans.
Benson and Haught have competed against each other many times before and this was no different. The last turn down to WesBanco arena saw Benson in the lead followed by Haught. Benson finished with a fourth place overall finish, followed just two seconds later by Haugnt, with a fifth place overall finish. Both runners took first place honors in their individual categories and are looking forward to competing with each other again in the future.
What does the future bring for Haught? "Hopefully, a return to the state track meet, and then to competing at the college level. I love running, I love the competitiveness, as well as the good friends that you can make. Plus, it's what I do."