Sportsmanship shines during race in Neenah
By Jacob Heid
NEENAH – The SPASH cross-country teams look to be dominant once again but also showed what high school sports are about at the Neenah Invite on Sept. 1.
On top of the boys’ team taking first place, junior Ethan Olds and sophomore Cooper Erickson showed true sportsmanship just before crossing the finish line for the race.
Senior Aloysius Franzen set the pace for the athletes participating in the boys’ varsity race.
He finished in first place with a time of 15:03.5, setting a course record and ending nearly a minute and a half ahead of second-place finisher and teammate Ethan Olds.
Olds, Erickson and a fellow competitor from Marquette were in a battle for second place down the stretch.
When the runner from Marquette had second place in his sights, a stumble and fall allowed Erickson to pass by.
Instead of crossing the finish line, he returned to the runner with Olds to encourage and assist as the three crossed the finish line together.
“It was such an amazing show of sportsmanship!” a post on the SPASH Panthers Facebook page said. “The sportsmanship shows the character that we aspire for all of our athletes and many have it! That character will serve them (and us) well after they are done competing and living in our communities.”
Junior Andrew Dziak rounded out the top five with his 16:39.6 time.
Junior Matt Frank finished in 16:57.0, good for eighth place and the fifth Panther to finish in the top 10.