Feeney And Hinerman Place In Top Two Spots At Regional Meet
MHS?juniors Bill Feeney and Alec Hinerman ran true to form at the Regional Championships in Cameron on Thursday, Oct. 21, by placing as champion and runner-up, respectively, at the highly competitive state qualifying meet.
The course included several creek crossings, mud, log jumps, and grueling hill climbs as tests to the runner’s stamina. Feeney toured the course in 17:59 to win the champions’ medal and Hinerman pushed through at 18:07 for the runner-up award.
Despite a perfect showing by the Blue Eagle’s first two runners, the boys’ team missed state qualifying by a heart breaking two points. Sophomore James Haught cruised to the finish line in 19:55 and a strong 18th place, followed up by Kyle Lancaster in 22:54 and 50th place, Dylan King in 23:15 and 54th place, Kenny Headley in 23:26 and 55th place, and Mikal Raber in 28:09 and 66th place.
According to Coach John Holliday, “What Bill and Alec have accomplished this season is just phenomenal. In this race Bill showed a lot of heart by challenging the regional favorite throughout the race, and then he passed and broke him on the last big hill, running away for a well-earned championship. Alec came through and picked up the pieces with a great race, also defeating the regional favorite. It is rare to get a top ten finish in our strong region; to have a first and a second is a testament to how hard these boys work.
“At the same time, it hurts to be a top ten team in the state and not be going to the team championships. We have by far the toughest regional, with three teams ranked higher than us state-wide; including what I believe will be the state champion in St. Marys.
“Not to be critical, but we have had some boys since OVAC that, I believe, thought they were going to just show up at regionals and qualify for the state championship on the backs of Bill and Alec. Some regions you could do that, but not in ours. It is just too tough and too competitive.
I always stress that our last runner is just as important as the first; we train that way and we plan that way and this meet showed the importance of the team aspect. To miss out on state by two points could be a great motivator for us for next season since we don’t have anyone graduating, but we need to develop an attitude that we will take it and not expect it to be handed to us. Those two points, or two places, could have come from anyone from third runner down and not a single person should be pointing any fingers except at themselves.”
On the girl’s side, the lady Eagles ran with a scoring team for the first time this year by fielding the minimum five runners and finishing in eighth place. In a close one, team leader Christa Harshberger finished in 13th place, just missing the top 10 needed to qualify for state.
Following Harshberger’s 23:36 was Rachel Hoffpauir in 26:43 and 39th place, Shelby Sands in 30:02 in 55th place, Julianne McIlvain in 32:58 and 63rd place, and Amanda Mayo in 44:23 and 65th place.
“The girl’s field is one of the toughest in the state to get girls qualified out. Christa will have her work cut out for her next season as there are only two seniors graduating that finished ahead of her, so she will need to improve. She has shown some fire this year and I know she will be working in the off season to come out strong next year.
It was great to field a full girl’s team and I will be looking forward to next season.”
Bill Feeney and Alec Hinerman will be competing in the West Virginia State Championships at Cabell Midland High School in Huntington on Saturday, Oct. 30. The boys’ race will be the first event of the day at 10 a.m.