I tried that, but the image size is set to 600px because there are two columns. That means the featured post is also 600px and small since featured is in a single column. If Featured post once checked, displayed an image size option to make the featured post bigger, that would be perfect. Then, only a single loop, and a large hero image.
The way I have it now, it will run the two loops fine as along as there is no offset.
But I’m with you, I don’t like running two loops on a single page. Preference would be to add the image size option to featured post and run a single loop.