One athlete's sportsmanship won't soon be forgotten
It was an honor to have three News-Herald area state champions, one more than last year, and so many area standouts reach the podium, many for the first time.
With all due respect to those significant accomplishments, though, this particular state meet may be remembered in sizable part for one athlete's incredible gesture, an athlete who resides nowhere near our area but deserves a wealth of praise.
The Division III girls 3,200-meter run was finishing up, with Hawken's Ally Markovich winning her first career state championship and the 25th all-time for the N-H area powerhouse program. Of the 15 athletes entered, 13 had finished. And then the crowd rose to its feet in unison for this incredible moment, captured by my colleague Theresa Audia:
The athlete on the left is Meghan Vogel of West Liberty Salem, a school located in west central Ohio about 50 miles northeast of Dayton. The athlete on the right is Arden McMath of Arlington, which is about 15 miles south of Findlay. With about 50 meters to go, McMath's legs buckled and it was clear she would be unable to finish. Vogel, who had earlier won the D-III 1,600, was running in last and saw what was playing out in front of her. She came up right next to McMath and, well, you see the rest. The crowd grew louder as they both crossed the finish line, with Vogel allowing McMath to finish ahead of her.
In 13 years of covering area high school sports for The News-Herald, it's no exaggeration to say it's easily one of the most inspiring and emotional moments I have ever seen in any sport at this level.
Around the state, many media outlets, including The News-Herald, mentioned this incredible moment in their coverage, with similar sentiments to those expressed here. Vogel commented on her generous act to the Springfield News-Sun, telling the newspaper, "Helping (McMath) across the finish line was a lot more satisfying than winning the state championship."
Meghan, likely speaking for anyone who was there and anyone who will hear about this moment in the coming days, you're a two-time state champion in 2012 as far as we're all concerned.
- Chris Lillstrung | @CLillstrungNH