Good deeds by track & field athletes
Two good deeds by track & field athletes this past week made news around the country.
First, on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at the Ohio Track & Field State Meet, Meghan Vogel, a junior from West Liberty-Salem High School, performed a terrific act of sportsmanship. Earlier in the meet she won the Division 3 Girls 1600 meters with a school record time of 4:58.31. It was a hot day and the girls 3200 meter race took place only about an hour later. Perhaps still tired from the 1600, Vogel found herself in last place in the 3200. As she made her way down the final straightaway the second to last place runner, Arden McMath, a sophomore from Arlington, began to struggle in the heat collapsed to the track. She was struggling to get back up to finish the race. Rather than sidestepping her to finish her own race, Vogel slowed to help McMath stand and then literally helped carry McMath across the finish line.
McMath was officially credited with fourteenth place in 12:29.90 and Vogel was officially fifteenth (and last) in 12:30.24. Meet officials chose to ignore the rules that would normally call for McMath to be disqualified from the race for receiving assistance because of the terrific act of sportsmanship that took place.
Vogel received a standing ovation from the crowd at Ohio State University. In a post-race interview, Vogel was very gracious about what she did, saying that helping McMath was more satisfying than winning the 1600 meter race.
The second good deed took place on Sunday, June 3, 2012 in Texas near San Antonio. Tyler Williamson, a junior on the University of Texas-San Antonio track & field team was working as an attendant at Wildhorse Community Pool. A mother reported her three-year old son missing and Williamson flew into action. Apparently the boy, Jaden Muhlenbruch, fell into the pool and sank to the bottom. Williamson called for emergency help and after someone else found and pulled the boy out of the pool, Williamson began CPR on Jaden, who was blue, non-responsive, and had no heartbeat. After a few compressions Jaden started spitting up water and was airlifted to a nearby hospital. He is expected to make a full recovery.
The fact that Williamson was working that evening is an amazing story in itself. He was not scheduled to work Sunday evening but he picked up an extra shift even though he would be traveling to Des Moines, Iowa on Monday to compete at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Willamson is a three-time conference champion and school record holder in the long jump (outdoors-25’8.75”, inoors-25’0.5”).
Williamson was welcomed in Des Moines with a mini-media storm, with print and television news outlets all wanting to hear his story. Seventy-two hours after his heroic rescue at the pool in Texas, he competed in the NCAA long jump final, where he, perhaps emotionally exhausted from the ordeal, fouled all three of his jumps. Something tells me that Williamson, who had a 3.71 GPA this year, is still pretty pleased with his accomplishments this week.