SPASH runners help opposing runner cross the finish line

Before the finish line, Cooper Erickson and Ethan Olds, helped a Marquette runner who fell and helped him up and across the finish line
Published: Sep. 5, 2023 at 10:52 PM CDT
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STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW) - A true mark of real character was displayed by two Stevens Point Area Senior High cross country runners last weekend. They both helped a runner they were competing against cross the finish line at a cross country meet in Neenah on September 1st.

SPASH Sophomore Cooper Erickson wasn’t expecting to get a great life lesson during a cross country race. That lesson came last Friday when a runner from Marquette, Michigan was headed towards finishing a race in 2nd place. But he lost his footing and fell before the finish line.

“It was me and Ethan in the moment, but any SPASH runner would have done that,” said Erickson.

Erickson says it all happened so fast in the blink of an eye.

“It didn’t really sink in until after when my mom came up and told me,” said Erickson.

But before crossing the finish line, Cooper, along with Junior Ethan Olds, went back to the Marquette runner who fell and helped him up and across the finish line.

“It felt like a heartfelt and joyous moment,” said Olds.

“It’s mostly just instincts. I had run next to him all race, and here at SPASH we love to give great respect to guys who give it their all, and that’s exactly what the Marquette kid did. He gave it his all. I just thought he deserved to finish that race,” said Erickson.

While the Stevens Point Cross County team has won many state championships, including last season, the runners who make up their teams have winning character.

“We consistently build great runners, but we also build way better men and that’s what we strive to do,” said Erickson.

“We know that all of the competitors work so hard to get their, he put his entire race on the line with that final stretch, I’m glad we were able to help him out,” said Olds.

SPASH cross country’s next race is this Saturday when they host a meet at Standing Rock Park in Stevens Point.