Magnolia Boys Finish Sixth In WV State Championship
On Saturday the Magnolia Blue Eagle cross country team competed in the West Virginia State Championships at Cabell Midland High School in Huntington. A wet and muddy course greeted the harriers that afternoon.
Regardless, the boys came ready to run and finished in the top six for the second time in three seasons.
Senior Bill Feeney repeated his All-State performance of a year ago and crossed the line in fourth place, one place better that in 2010. Fellow senior and team captain Alec Hinerman just missed repeating in the All-State top 10 by finishing in 12th place. Junior James Haught supported the team with his 39th place finish and was followed by fellow junior Kenny Headley (72nd) and freshman David McIlvain (79th) for the team scoring. Also competing were juniors Kyle Lancaster (90th) and Mikal Raber (100th).
Magnolia Head Coach John Holliday stated, “Everyone ran very well down there. We were picked to finish in 10th place at best. We ran a very good race and surprised some teams. I felt we had a legitimate shot at the top five and we just missed that, but we were a very competitive sixth, beating some regional champions in the process. Our Region One finished second, fifth, sixth, and seventh places in the team standings at state. That shows the strength of our regional out of which we have to qualify. We definitely deserved to be there and we showed that in the final score.”
Losing two seniors after this year will be difficult for the Eagles, but Coach Holliday is up for the challenge. Holliday continued, “We will be an experienced team next year, but as I have said before, experience is only good if we are running through the off season. I know last year we just missed the state meet and I had some guys talking about how much they were going to run. Frankly, they didn’t keep up the work, but I think they learned from that.”
The Magnolia boys team in the 2011 season was Martins Ferry Invitational Champion, Cambridge Invitational Champion, OVAC Champion, and had runner-up awards from the Brooke Invitational and the St. Albans Invitational
“We lose two All-State seniors that were competitive everywhere we competed. Bill was top five in the state twice, Alec was top 20 three times and was All-State one time with the fastest time ever by a Magnolia athlete on the state course. Competitors like that don’t come around every day.”
Holliday went on to say, “Our 2012 team needs to decide how good they want to be, and I’m talking to both the boys and the girls teams. Put in the work starting this winter in getting ready for track and good things will happen. I’ve coached for 30 years at the high school and at the collegiate level and if I have learned anything in that time, it is there are no short cuts.”