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Female Cross Country Runner Of The Year: Brianna Dooney set the tone for Green Wave

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Summerville’s Brianna Dooney is the female cross country runner of the year.

Summerville’s Brianna Dooney wasn’t in top form early in the season, but she gutted out performances to help keep the Green Wave girls in the mix.

Dooney has been an all-region runner since she joined the Summerville cross country team as a seventh-grader, so when she returned for her sophomore season last fall coaches expected her to lead the way for the team. However, Dooney battled illness in late August and early September.

“That put her way behind in her training,” Summerville coach Kelly Hazel said. “She really worked hard to get back in shape.”

By the time the Region 8-AAAAA championship meet rolled around, Dooney was returning to form. She finished the race with a 19:38 time to place second and secure the team region championship for Summerville.

She again led Summerville at the state qualifier, finishing in 20:12 to place 15th individually and help Summerville advance to the state championship meet.

When the stakes were the highest, Dooney finished the state championship race in 20:25 to place 28th individually and help the Green Wave place 12th. A trio of Wando runners were the only Lowcountry athletes to finish ahead of Dooney.

She has also consistently been one of the top distance runners for the Green Wave track and field team. Her coach says her contributions to both programs should not be overlooked.

“Our other girls need Brianna during workouts because she always raises the level of effort by everyone,” Hazel said. “Her strength is in her workouts. She is very coachable and an honor student who has the same competitive spirit with her academics.”

This spring, Dooney achieved a new personal best time of 5:28 in the 1,600 meter race.