THORNVILLE – The Sheridan cross country programs are known for their winning ways.
Yet it was their sportsmanship that shined through Saturday during the Division II district meet at Rio Grande University.
Sheridan sophomore Anna Foster came to the aid of Athens sophomore Makena Bentley, who had collapsed after crossing the finish line. Both earned all-district honors.
Seeing someone in a vulnerable position prompted Foster’s response.
“I personally didn’t see her fall, but I saw her on the ground and thought she was going to get run over,” Foster recalled. “It felt like the right thing to do. If I fell at the finish line, I hope someone would be there to pick me up.”
Sheridan coach Bart Smith noted the compliments he received from people there as well as through an Instagram post that went viral soon after being publicized. The photo also made it to Runner’s Space and was recognized by a running group in Europe.
He said Foster is one example of his team’s unselfishness.
“Since there are computer chips for scoring, there isn’t always people at the line to help,” he said. “It’s pretty common for any of our girls to help out. This is an exceptional group, and it’s pretty cool to see the immediate response from people all over. Even the Athens girls commented on the post to show her thanks.”
Smith also said runners helping each other is a regular occurrence.
“We were lucky enough to get a photo of Anna helping,” he said. “That is common in our sport to see what kids are willing to do for each other. When you watch a race, the kids aren’t just putting it all out there for themselves, but for the whole team. These kids are committed to helping each other, and we’re fortunate that our kids are like so many and get that.”
The influence of former teammates, Katy Foltz and Amy Craig, built that unselfish attitude into Foster. She credited them for having her ready for those situations.
“When I joined the team, (those two) made a big impact on how I am as a person,” she said. “These things are part of our program.”