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Cross Country Action Ends At State Meet

By Staff | Nov 12, 2008

The 2008 Region I Class A and Class AA Cross Country Championships took place Nov. 23 on the rugged St. Marys course and Magnolia’s Joe Feeney made the All-Region team by virtue of his ninth place finish in a time of 18:04 that qualified him for the state championships.

Teammate Nathan Harshberger just missed the same honor by finishing in 12th place in 18:23, with Bill Feeney coming in 31st in 19 :45 and senior Andrew Hoffman completing the course in 51st place at 22:34. The Blue Eagle boys did not have the minimum number of five runners and did not receive a team score.

“I’m thankful for the opportunity to compete with the best runners in the state,” said Joe Feeney. “My teammates, family, and coach all helped to push me to get me where I am. It feels good to know that all of the hard work has paid off.”

“I am very proud of Joe’s accomplishment,” said Head Coach John Holliday. “Everyone’s goal is to get to the state championship and he made it by virtue of a lot of hard work all summer long. And I can’t talk about Joe without talking about Nathan, because they have both worked so hard together during and before the season. They make each other better. On another day Nathan could have been in the top 10, as well. I would have loved to have seen them both qualify.”

Additionally, Harshberger’s effort earned him the Run.WV Performer of the Meet award. “His time actually could have been a little better,” Holliday continued, “if he had settled in and just finished the race comfortably, but he really pushed himself and went after that top ten placing. Top 10 was everything and he and Joe both went for it. Athletes talk about giving their all — these two bravely laid it all on the line in this race.”

The Eagle girls were led by Rachel Hoffpauir in her 18th place finish in 22:34. Senior Laura Kane followed Hoffpauir in 35th place with a time of 24:47. Rebecca Brookover finished in 50th place in a time of 27:05. Andrea Lockhart and Morgan Dawson finished 58th and 60th place, respectively.

The girls’ team finished 8th in the Regionals. Two and three runners — Laura Kane and Rebecca Brookover, a three time letter-winner — will be lost to graduation. However, number one Rachel Hoffpauir, four Andrea Lockhart and Morgan Dawson will return next season. Lockhart also is a three-time letter winner.

“Sometimes it is a matter of getting runners to believe they can run that far, then getting them to believe they can run harder and harder,” observed Holliday. “All the girls worked very hard and have improved. But, like the boys, we need more runners on the squad to help make everyone better. For the most part we treat our two teams as one and they support each other and cheer for each other. Our girls were as excited about Joe making it to state as anyone.”

Joe Feeney and Harshberger will be returning, as will Bill Feeney — the fastest freshman in the regional race. The only loss to the boys’ program will be Andrew Hoffman, who will graduate in the spring.

“I’m not going to stop recruiting for next year’s team,” said Holliday. “We have as good a top three returning as anyone in the region on the boys’ side and some good experience returning on the girls’ side, as well. I don’t want all their hard work to be penalized by not having the minimum number of runners. There are boys and girls at Magnolia that can be developed into competitive runners.”

During the state championship at Cabell Midland High School in Huntington Nov. 1, Joe Feeney finished 36th place at state with a time of18:16 in a field of 83 runners. He was the only runner from Magnolia to qualify and did a good job in his first ever appearance at the State meet.