Girls XC Runner of the Year

A Mustangs Leader and Cross Country Star

Fountain Central’s Brailey Hoagland races to JR Girls Runner of the Year


Fountain Central’s Brailey Hoagland needed little time to make an impact on the cross country scene when she arrived at FC as a freshman. Now a veteran who just wrapped up her junior year with the Mustangs, Hoagland has turned into a leader both on and off the course. In three seasons, Hoagland has earned 1st-Team All WRC honors as well as All Bi-County honors. She’s qualified for the Regional in each of her three seasons while also setting the tone for the Mustang girls team.

Another special thing for Hoagland is that her mom, Shannon Hoagland is the coach for the Mustangs. The relationship that the two already have gets to be shared even more through cross-country. The love for running for Hoagland began very early on in her life and it’s something she’s been able to carry with her and find her calling.

“Brailey always has a smile on her face and is a very easy person to coach,” Shannon said. “At the Regional she got passed by two of her teammates but showed great sportsmanship and was happy for them instead of being down on herself for not having the race she wanted. Early on we watched her run and told her that she was kind of meant to do this. From that moment on there really wasn’t any thought about any other sport (Hoagland also plays volleyball and basketball for FC). She works hard and wants to work hard for her team and that’s a quality that you can’t teach.”

Brailey not only was a leader for the Mustangs, but simply put one of the best runners in the area. She was the top girls finisher at the Charger Relays where all four area teams were competing. She showcased her talents this past season and has earned the title of the 2023 Journal Review Girls Runner of the Year.

Having a special bond with some of her teammates is something that Brailey noted when talking about her season and her success.

“Having that bond really pushes me to continue to run well,” Brailey said. “Seeing that I’ve been to the Regional the last three years and be on the verge of breaking my school record. Those are some things that continue to drive me to get better.”

Brailey also (like most XC runners in the area) runs track in the spring for the Mustangs and said how that has helped her continue to stay in shape for the fall and have her times continuously drop.

She also talked about what having her mom as her coach is like as the two may not always see eye to eye, but does also mention how she knows she can do to her about anything.

“I know that I can go to her about things that you normally wouldn’t talk to a coach about,” Brailey added. “It can be more personal and that’s the part that I like. We do get into some arguments when I get sassy but I know at the end of the day she’s going to be right there at the finish line.”

A runner like Brailey, as Shannon noted earlier, has never really been focused on her individual goals but instead more focused on how she can help her Mustang teammates. At the Regional this season she was joined by sophomore Raley Messinger, and junior Alydia Mellady. Brailey has stepped into that leadership role very well for the Mustangs and it’s something that has been noticed by many.

“I feel like a good leader is someone who is putting in that work and that’s what Brailey has done,” Shannon said. “When you’ve put in the work other people are going to want to follow suit. Brailey has set a great example for our program by encouraging everyone. Our program has grown the last few years and it’s because of runners like Brailey who have made a name for themselves. Here at Fountain Central people now know what our program is about and it’s only going to continue to grow. I hope that will only continue to push Brailey next season.”

Next season Brailey will be a senior for the Mustangs and as every high school athlete wants their senior season to be their best, that’s the case as well for Brailey and Shannon who both know there’s things left out there for the Mustang star to accomplish.

“Track this upcoming spring is going to help me prepare for my senior year,” Brailey said. “I’ll use that and then run during the summer to make sure I’m well prepared for next season. I want to break my own 5K record if I can and also have a better showing at the Regional. Those are the goals I’m going to set for myself.”

Along with those other goals Brailey wanted to four-peat in the Bi-County meet and make 1st Team All WRC for a fourth straight season.

“It’d be amazing if she would be able to make it out of the Regional too,” Shannon said. “It’s a daunting task but it’s do-able because we saw Seeger get someone there to the State Finals so to get Brailey there would just be