Logan runners compete in Footlocker finals with Head as coach

Posted on December 3, 2014 4:14 PM

Over the last six years, Logan County Cross Country has put an exclamation mark on Logan County's sports teams. With two regional championships, SKY Conference championships, top five placements at the state meet and multiple large invitational wins, it is safe to say that it is an elite program.

After the 2013 graduating class of Austin Rouse, Colton Spencer, Noah Thomas and Sye Head, the program experienced a loss of leadership and talent. The boys team competed at state five years in a row from 2008-2012. The 2013-2014 season's had four runners competing at the state level. After this small down-slope, they are back!

After Cougars Meredith Johnson, Levi Crossley and Thomas Lyne competed at the state meet in early November, they continued training until the Footlocker National meet in Charlotte, N.C. on Nov. 29. Also joining them were teammates Jessie Hankins and Gage Cousineau.

The Cougars were trained for this race by former Logan County runner Sye Head, who is a current runner for Western Kentucky University. A multiple time regional champion and state runner-up as a senior, he went on to place 4th at the Footlocker race in high school.

At Footlocker nationals, freshman Johnson placed 67th with a time of 21:15, followed by her teammate Jessie Hankins, who placed 113th with a time of 23:50. Cousineau placed 108th with a time of 18:27 in the freshman boys race. Lyne placed 157th in the sophomore boys race with a time of 18:14. Crossley placed 175th in the Senior race while also posting a time of 18:14. Head competed in the 19-30 year old age race and placed 7th overall with a time of 15:27. This race was won by USA World Championship runner Matthew Elliot.

Head says, “Very exciting day of racing, but it's over and time to restart for next year. Thomas is the returning veteran with over five years of experience. Gage has a large leadership role to step into next year as he already has the number 4 all-time freshman 5k time for Logan County. Jessie has completely changed her mindset and has already made huge improvements in just one season by dropping over two minutes. Meredith is chasing every record that Logan County has and already has a HUGE jump start.”

“There's so much I could say about these athletes but it'd take days to finish.” Head also says. “Competing at the college level is absolutely incredible, and the goal is to provide these athletes the opportunity to compete at that level in the future. After spending so much time with them and watching them grow, it is very possible for each of them. The training we do is very unorthodox, but the body does respond best to confusion.

“You can count on 2 things: 1. Meredith Johnson will have 10 school records before she graduates. 2. Logan County boys will be back at the state meet before 2016.”

As a freshman, Johnson is less than 12 seconds from the 5k record after the Footlocker race on Saturday. Cousineau, Johnson, and Hankins all posted a personal best time on Saturday.

One last comment from Coach Head: “Hopefully this race put things into perspective for the kids. They need to experience this type of competition to understand how crucial it is to have a wider vision than just Logan County. Thomas Lyne will be the oldest person on the team next year, not even having his driving permit. This goes to show the young talent and potential for the future. If they will hold each other accountable, then the progression and credibility will come natural. They are learning to reject passivity, accept responsibility, lead courageously and expect a greater reward.”

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