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MHS?Duo Place 4th,5th In Cross Country State Meet

By Staff | Nov 3, 2010

Pictured from left is Magnolia’s Alec Hinerman, Eagle Head Coach John Holliday, and Billy Feeney. Hinerman came from the middle of the pack to claim fourth place in the West Virginia State Class A-AA Cross Country Meet, while Feeney, who just won the Section I Region I Regional finals at Cameron High School, placed one spot behind for fifth place. They both made All-State with their performances. (Photo provided by Mark Lemasters)

Alec Hinerman and Bill Feeney started the first race of the 2010 State Cross Country Championship at theCabell Midland High School coursein Huntington with hopes of finishing in that magical top 10 that garnersthe coveted All-State awards. The morning started with chilly temperatures anda heavy frost, but by race time the two Magnolia boys were warmed up and ready to run.

Running the majority of the first half of the race well back in placement, they both bided their time and gradually moved up into contention. When the race was over Alec Hinerman was fourth place and Bill Feeney was fifth place, both being awarded an All State plaque. Both boys ran a very strategic race and finishedwell in an extremely strong field.

It has been said that 90percent of high school runners go out too fast. Some think it is a sign of bravery to go out and run with the leaders, but it takes more bravery to run within yourself and really push the second half of the race. That is harder to do and it physically hurts, but it is effective.

The mile mark came afterthe biggest hillwith Feeney in 13th place and Hinerman not even in the top 20, but they were running hard and being smart,a handful ofseconds behind.

They didn’t panic and that was where the race really started.

At two miles therunners had moved into contention in seventh and ninth places, sailing throughin 11:13 and 11:15. Doggedly pursuing those ahead, the Blue Eagle harriers pushed each other back down the hill and picked off more runners as they approached the finish on the track.

With the crowd roaring in the stadium, the final 300 meters was an all-out gut check sprint. The defending state champion from Grafton, Drew Woodford, crossed the line first, followed by runners from Richwood and Scott in second and third. Next up was Magnolia’s own Alec Hinerman in16:54 and Bill Feeney in 16:59.

“There have been a lot of very good cross country teams over the years at Magnolia,” remarked head coach John Holliday, “but I don’t think there has been a time when two runners have both made the state top 10 in the same season. For one to make that level isquite anaccomplishment; to have two at the same time is just wonderful.

“Alec was shoved not once, but twice. Thesecond time he hit the ground. Then he was spiked and had a three-inch gash bleeding on his ankle. You never know, but without all of that perhaps he could have challenged the top three.”

Continued Holliday, “As disappointing as it was to not have our full team here,everyoneon theboys’ team is an underclassman. We need to remember that Alec finished last year as our number two and Bill was our number four; we lost two seniors at number one and three and didn’t know what to expect for the 2010 season.

“We had guys like James Haught have a good season, new guys like Kenny Headley, Dylan King, and Mikal Raber come out as first time runners, and Kyle Lancaster was another holdover. With this group we almost duplicated our 2009 accomplishments, including an OVAC runner-up trophy.

“With all of them back, the only limit I see in what we can do is how hard they want to work; how much they are willing to improve in the off season.”