Eagle Cross Country Teams Compete In 2010
Cross country doesn’t roar in like some sports, but on Wednesday, Aug. 25, the Magnolia Blue Eagles made some noise. And, if you listen carefully, they are saying they still need to be reckoned with in the Ohio Valley. Last year’s boys’ team — OVAC and regional runners-up and sixth place state championship team — may not have been a one-time thing.
MHS was runner-up to OVAC defending champion St. Clairsville at the Martins Ferry cross country course, led by state-ranked juniors Bill Feeney and Alec Hinerman. Those athletes finished second and fourth, respectively, in times of 17:59 and 18:38. Sophomore James Haught opened his season showing his fitness with a solid 11th place performance in 19:44.
Magnolia Head Cross Country Coach John Holliday said, “Those three were solid performers for us last year and we expect them to get better as the season goes on and to help get their new teammates ready. It’s just good for us to get a race in to test our conditioning and see where we need to work.
“Alec finished the season at state last year as our number two and we need him up there every meet. Bill worked hard in the summer to be sure he can run with anyone in the field. He really challenged himself at Ferry with an outstanding early season time on a very rugged cross country course. James was a five last year and the pressure shouldn’t change much to run as a three, except that I expect him to challenge those first two later in the season.”
Lost to graduation are four-year lettermen Nathan Harshberger (now running for Wheeling Jesuit) and Joe Feeney. The only other experienced runner on the boy’s team this season is sophomore letterman Kyle Lancaster, who does double duty with the Blue Eagle soccer team. Lancaster placed 37th, followed immediately in 38th by newcomer Kenny Headley. Also running his first cross country meet was sophomore Mikal Raber in 44th place. First year junior Dylan King will be available the next meet.
“All the new guys have shown some ability to be real good runners, but it is hard to start in August and be able to race right away,” explained Holliday. “We will have them ready when it counts. Those that ran at Martins Ferry got their first experience and that gives us a baseline to work from.
“If they learned anything, they should have learned we have a lot of work to do. What we need is for Kenny, Dylan, Kyle, and Mikal to work real hard in practice and in the meets to challenge each other and that will make us a better team.
“To do anything at the end of the season, which is our main goal, we have to get our number four, five, and six runners closer to the number three runner.”
On the girls’ side, there are presently only three runners, but the full team line up may soon be filled out to five players with some new blood.
“We have some young ladies coming out that will help us once they have their practices in. Right now, I’m happy with the progress of our three girls, but it helps when you get a full team of five and can have that team score up on the board.”
Sophomore letterman Christa Harshberger led in the six-team meet with a 10th place finish. Two time letter-winner, senior Rachel Hoffpauier, completed her first race of the year in 19th place. Sophomore letterman Julianne McIlvain will be available the next meet.
“I was real happy with the way Christa and Rachel competed Wednesday,” said Holliday. “I think that really boosted their confidence running against such a quality field. Any time you have a runner finish in the top ten, that is a good thing. We are slowly working into shape.”
The Blue Eagle’s next meet will be at the Scenic Hills Invitational Sept. 4, hosted by Warren Local
TEAM SCORES AT
1st St. Clairsville 23
2nd Magnolia 62
3rd Buckeye Local 75
5th Martins Ferry
1st St. Clairsville 26
2nd Martins Ferry 58
3rd Buckeye Local 73
4th Bellaire 88