Blue Eagles Place Sixth In State Cross Country Meet
One last time, the Magnolia Cross Country team took the field at the West Virginia State Championship this past Saturday afternoon in Huntington. One last time for the season; one last time for two seniors; hopefully, not the last time for the opportunity.
Seniors Nathan Harshberger and Joe Feeney splashed through the mud to lead their team to a sixth-place finish with 138 points. This was 30 points behind region one nemesis Doddridge County. Richwood came in fourth, Scott in third, season-long state favorite Berkeley Springs was runner-up, and an up-and-coming Grafton team ran off with the state title.
Head Coach John Holliday said, “We traveled to Grafton in September to see how we matched up with them and did very well, losing by only nine points. That put our athletes in the frame of mind that we could run with them. Well, we had our chances, but it was just not to be.
“We do not take a back seat to anyone when it comes to effort. Because of our hard work this season, we were Brooke Wendy’s Invitational Champions, Magnolia Invitational Champions, third place in the Bearcat Invitational, OVAC runner-up, and regional runner-up. Our goals were not all met, but our goals were realistic. Sometimes when you give it all, you still come up short. But few people gave us a chance to do what we did this year and we all have to remember how far we have come.”
Top finisher for the Blue Eagles was Nathan Harshberger in 28th place followed closely by teammate Alec Hinerman in 29th place. Brothers Joe and Bill Feeney crossed the finish line in 36th and 39th place, respectively. Freshman James Haught finished the scoring in 69th place with fellow freshman Kyle Lancaster in 78th.
Holliday continued, “Any team in the state would have been glad to have two seniors like we had in Nathan and Joe. But next season, we have two of the top sophomores in the state coming back in Bill Feeney and Alec Hinerman. Our other two varsity performers are freshmen this year. We are a young team in all, but I believe the foundation of any team is your senior class, regardless of their ability.
“Nathan and Joe have demonstrated to these guys what it takes to compete at this level, having put in four years of cross country work to take this opportunity when help arrived. If they have a legacy to leave, it will be that off-season work is where you develop as a runner. These folks we have coming back next season had better remember that. You ask any of our athletes and they’ll tell you they expect to be back in Huntington in future state championships. Well, that starts with track season and training through June and July, then we’ll see.”