Feeney, Hogan continue push
GIBSON CITY – St. Thomas More's Cara Feeney and St. Joseph-Ogden's Hannah Hogan know each other well.
The high school seniors have been competing in distance races at area track meets since the fifth or sixth grade.
Feeney won the battle in Friday's Lady Falcon Invite by winning the 3,200-meter run and finishing second to Tri-Valley sensation Stephanie Brown in the 1,600.
Hogan, however, won the war as she ran the opening leg on SJ-O's second-place 3,200 relay in addition to finishing second in the 3,200 and third in the 1,600 to give the Spartans the points needed to edge Tri-Valley 80-77 for the title in the 24-team meet.
"That's the first time I've run the 4-x-8 relay (10 minutes) before the 3,200," Hogan said. "We wanted to see if I could handle the extra race before the sectional. It's a mental thing I'm going to have to overcome. I can't be thinking about the 3,200 while running the relay."
Hogan and Feeney have a long history.
"I win some days, and she wins other days. It's good to know you are going to have competition like that every race. My strategy against her varies from race to race. I don't try to prepare too much. When the gun goes off, you go with the way you feel."
Feeney was extremely happy with her efforts Friday.
"I've been a little down all season," Feeney said. "I was very pleased with my times. This is a good meet to be stepping up and getting on track.
"The races between Hannah and I vary from meet to meet. It's fun. The good thing is that I know she's going to push me every race, and I hope I push her. We are both very competitive. My only goal against Hannah is to go out and run my best race. I'm much more of a time- oriented person. I'm more interested in my time than where I place."
Hogan and Feeney agree they have to move up a level or two to compete with Brown, the two-time defending Class 1A state champion.
All Brown did Friday to win the Most Valuable Performer of the meet award was win the 100 in 12.6 seconds, set a meet record of 1 minute, 0.10 second in the 400, win the 1,600 in 5:31.56 and anchor the 1,600 relay to victory.
"Stephanie is a freak of nature," Hogan said. "Can you imagine anyone finishing second in the state cross-country meet, a 3-mile race, last fall and winning the 100 today? I've been to camp with her. She has unbelievable talent. I was surprised when she waited until about the 800 mark before taking over today. I knew she would be coming, though. It was just a matter of when."