Patrick Henry grad going the distance at CNU

When you lose something you love for a long time, you cherish it so much more when you get a second chance.

Logan Harrington’s love for running exudes from her persona when you ask the 2013 Patrick Henry graduate about her freshman season at Christopher Newport University. The Captains won the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championship Sunday by 70 points over Mary Washington, 198-128.

Above, Logan Harrington competes for Christopher Newport University. The 2013 Patrick Henry graduate helped lead the Captains to the Capital Athletic Conference track title Sunday. (Photo courtesy of Jesse Hutcheson)

Above, Logan Harrington competes for Christopher Newport University. The 2013 Patrick Henry graduate helped lead the Captains to the Capital Athletic Conference track title Sunday. (Photo courtesy of Jesse Hutcheson)

Harrington, who almost competed for the runner-up team, helped lead the Captains to the title. It was a “full-circle” weekend of sorts for Harrington, whose journey was supposed to go in a far different direction had the plans of 15 year-old Logan had come to fruition.

“My times as a freshman in high school were decent, so that summer getting ready for cross country I knew I had to focus,” Harrington explained, noting the distance running found in cross country was not her favorite. “I trained all summer, but started feeling pain in my foot. It got worse when cross country started, and doctors discovered it was a stress fracture in my third metatarsal.”

Harrington came to a screeching halt, wearing first a cast, then a walking boot. Running was off the table, so, she took up swimming to stay in competition, while going to track practices to encourage her Patriot teammates.

In the back of her mind, Division I track scholarship dreams were fading, and it weighed on her as her high school career zoomed by.

“I shed a lot of tears. It was tough, but after a time of feeling sad, I decided to look on the positive side. While it was hard to see the Division I dream slip away, I just trusted God and believed His plan for me was perfect, and it ended up great because I love it here,” Harrington said.

“Here” is Newport News, but here was almost Fredericksburg, home of the Eagles. Mary Washington was Harrington’s first choice over Christopher Newport, but after taking a second visit to each school, she knew in her heart where her future would unfold.

“I simply fell in love with the team,” Harrington opined, noting the camaraderie of the Captains’ athletes and coaches.

Overcoming her fear of re-injuring her foot, Harrington returned to the track for Patrick Henry her senior season, placing sixth at the 2013 Central Region Championships in the 800 meters and winning a title as part of the 4 X 400 relay team. Her next stop was Christopher Newport.

Harrington ran cross country last fall, a “suggested” requirement for track distance runners, finishing 20th in the CAC Tournament in 23:46.1.

Though her strong race is the 800, head cross country and assistant track coach Matthew Barreau wanted all of his distance runners to, as Harrington put it, “race a good mile.”

“I was scared because in high school, I never, ever ran the mile,” Harrington remembered. “After I ran the 800 a couple of times, he had me run the mile, and, for outdoor season, I started running both the 800 and 1500, and it’s getting better and better!”

At the CAC Championships, Harrington won the 800 with a new meet record time of 2:16.54, taking three full seconds off the old record set in 2005 by Casey McInerney of Salisbury. Running in a pack with teammates Jessica McClelland and Briana Stewart in the 1500, Harrington took second behind McClelland in 4:45.42, again breaking the old meet record. McClelland set the new meet mark with a time of 4:43.52.

Harrington also runs the 4 X 400 relay at most meets, but never better than last weekend.

“We won the race in 3:56.85 and I ran a 56.6, which is my fastest 400 ever,” Harrington, the anchorwoman, said with a smile. “When I got the baton, it was hard to run without someone to chase, so I pretend someone’s right on me.”

Harrington’s next stop is the Virginia Challenge Friday and Saturday at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, then it is off to an undetermined location to finish qualifying for the NCAA Division III Outdoor Championships beginning May 23 in Delaware, Ohio.

Harrington is currently 21st in the nation in qualifying for the Women’s 800. The top 22 make it to the big show. She hopes to run a new personal best in one of the final two meets to better her positioning and earn a trip to Ohio.

After the CAC meet, Harrington was named “Most Inspirational” by her teammates. It’s easy to see why. Harrington’s accomplishments are only surpassed by her humble, winning attitude.

“While my times and racing goals are really important to me, receiving this award was truly an honor. I absolutely love my team. It’s easy to work hard and be encouraging to a team that wants you to succeed and encourages you as well,” Harrington said.

Posted on Wednesday, May 7, 2014 at 4:57 pm