Blue Eagles Fare Well In Invitational
On a cool Saturday morning, two state-ranked boys’ cross country teams squared off at the Brooke Invitational Cross Country meet in Wellsburg. Everything went according to plan for the Magnolia Blue Eagles, except for the final score. Needing to punch a hole in the nine-team field of runners to have a shot at out scoring the bigger schools, Blue Eagle all-state runner Bill Feeney did just that. A mile into the race he had put down all but one runner, while still making a huge effort for the lead.
However, the standout senior came up just six seconds short of the championship, settling for a fine runner-up showing behind Nate Boyer of East Liverpool.
Following Feeney into the line was fellow senior all-stater Alec Hinerman, scoring a strong third place. Not to be outdone, junior James Haught came through with an inspired fourth place. Needing to put down Wheeling Park’s vaunted Triple-A ranked squad, the harrier leaders took care of business.
However, the Patriots then showed their depth by finishing fifth through eighth, and put it out of reach by following up with 11th, 15th and 16th places before junior Kenny Headley came through with his best time of the year in 25th place. That was one spot ahead of freshman teammate David McIlvain.
Others finishing were Kyle Lancaster, 32nd; Mikal Raber, 34th; and Dylan King.
The top teams were: Wheeling Park, Magnolia, John Marshall, Oak Glen, East Liverpool, Brooke, Wheeling Central, Weir, and Bishop Donahue.
Blue Eagle harrier mentor John Holliday said “That was really all we had. We left it all out on the course. Everyone, top to bottom, ran an intense, gritty race. We just could not have run better. I won’t say I’m happy with second place, but I can accept it because the guys ran so well.”
The Eagle girls’ team, wanting to make a name for itself, held on by finishing third of eight teams. Led by junior letterman Christa Harshberger with a strong 10th-place showing, the balanced attack continued. Junior Sarah Goddard (16th), freshman Katie Ensinger (17th), sophomore Shelby Sands (18th), and junior Julianne McIlvain (19th) helped total 77 points, third behind Wheeling Park’s 18 and John Marshall’s 41 points .
“The girls are really starting to gel,” Holliday noted. “Their best races are ahead of them this season as we get in better shape. This was a strong team effort for the boys and for the girls. I want us to carry this momentum into our home meet this coming Saturday, September 17.
“We will be running on the old golf course and the marina that morning in what is becoming one of the premier cross country meets in the state. I hope everyone comes out to support our boys and girls.”