Meghan Vogel is now the poster child for sportsmanship, and rightly so. Vogel is a junior high school runner for West Liberty-Salem High School in Ohio, who is making the internet smile with her selfless act during a Division III girls state meet at Jesse Owens Stadium in Columbus.
With just around 20 meters to go in the 3,200 meter race Meghan saw one of her competitors, Arden McMath, a sophomore from Arlington High School, fall down right in front of her. Instead of taking the opportunity to pick up a spot, Vogel helped her opponent up and literally helped carry her across the finish line.
“Any girl on the track would have done the same for me,” Vogel said Monday when asked about the race.
However, we aren’t so sure that any girl on that track would have done the same thing.
ESPN explains in depth:
Three laps into the eight-lap race, Vogel was falling off the pace. Her mother watched from the backstretch and could tell that her daughter didn’t have the energy to contend for another title.
“By that time it was a matter of just finishing (the race),” Ann Vogel said. “I kind of joked with her about being in last place because she’s never been last. And every lap she looked at me and smiled.”
Vogel rounded the final turn for home and could see that the only other runner who hadn’t finished yet was faltering. And then McMath, a runner Vogel had never met before, fell to the track.
Vogel never had a moment of doubt about what to do next.
“I remember moving to her position,” she said. “(McMath) was doing the best she could to keep her body upright. There was a lot of shake in her legs, which is totally understandable.”
The crowd cheered when Vogel stopped and the roar grew louder as she and McMath moved closer to the finish line. Vogel purposely steered McMath across the finish line ahead of her.
“We’re a little bit of a minority being distance runners,” Vogel said. “I think we all have an instant connection.”
A race that had become pointless in the grand scheme of the day for Vogel quickly took on a new meaning.
“I think fate may have put me (in last place) for a reason,” Vogel said.