Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Redmond High School athletes show what sportsmanship is all about

Earlier today, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) finished putting on the 2008 Track & Field championships in Pasco, Washington. The meet, I've been told, by friends and family who were there, was notable for a memorable display of sportsmanship that took place following the conclusion of the Class 4A girls 3,200-meter title yesterday. Here's ESPN:
[Bellarmine Prep senior Nicole] Cochran, who is attending Harvard this fall, had crossed the finish line first with a personal-best time of 10 minutes, 36 seconds in Friday's meet. But minutes later, according to the News Tribune of Tacoma, meet officials notified Bellarmine Prep's coach, Matt Ellis, that Cochran was disqualified.

According to the News Tribune, officials ruled that Cochran had taken three consecutive steps on the inside line along the far curve on the next-to-last lap of the race, which is when she had made her move to take the lead and break free of the pack.

It is a violation that results in disqualification.
Following Cochran's disqualification, officials declared second-place finisher Andrea Nelson of Shadle Park High School in Spokane to be the winner, with a time of 10:40:04. What happened next made national news:
The awards ceremony took place, then Nelson got off the awards stand, walked over to Cochran, removed the first-place medal from around her neck and draped it over Cochran's.

"It's your medal," Nelson said to her, the Tri-City Herald reported. "You're the state champion."

The rest of the top eight finishers then held an impromptu ceremony of their own. Exchanging their medals -- Nelson received the second-place medal, Sarah Lord of Redmond High School took the third-place medal, and so on.
Devon McMahon, also of Redmond High School, wasn't mentioned in ESPN's story, but she finished after Sarah, and was the third to exchange medals, giving hers to Sarah and receiving Kate Stuart's (of Gig Harbor).

What Andrea, Sarah, Devon, and their peers chose to do on the field in Pasco yesterday was truly admirable. It's refreshing to know that our state and our region are home to so many classy and honorable athletes.


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