Cross country runner disqualified for carrying opponent to finish line

October 30, 2014 / Track & Field

Seldom does great sportsmanship end in punishment, but that’s the case for a Wisconsin cross country athlete who aided a struggling opponent during a recent race.

Shawano High School junior Teagan Monfils was disqualified from a recent 5K after carrying a competitor across the finish line. Officials said they were following NFHS rules, which prohibit one runner from aiding or assisting another.

From Yahoo! News:

“I’m out there watching our girls compete and had a parent come up and asked if I watched the finish line,” Monfils’ coach, Steve Stomberg, told ABC News today. “I said, ‘No,’ and she told me that Teagan had been disqualified.”

“I went to the officials and they confirmed they had to disqualify her for aiding another runner,” Stomberg said. “They said they were very proud of what she did, but that is the rule.”

“It’s just remarkable about all the kids that went by her, but something told Teagan that she wasn’t going to qualify for state and she wanted to help this athlete out,” Stomberg said. “It was incredible.”

Monfils has been running since the fifth grade, according to Stomberg, who added Monfils’ act of sportsmanship was a first in his 16 years of coaching.

“You see sportsmanship things that take place and people encouraging each other but to actually see someone stop and pick someone up and help them across the finish line, I’ve never seen anything like that,” he said.

We talk at length about how winning is secondary to the core values of education-based athletics, and this athlete understands that. 

The DQ is unfortunate, but Monfils doesn’t seem to care. And she shouldn’t. Teams need more athletes that share her principles. 

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