September 22, 2023

Cross-country competitors pause their race to assist their rivals

  • September 7, 2023
  • 2 min read
Cross-country competitors pause their race to assist their rivals

Just feet from the finish line of their cross-country race. Two high school runners stopped to assist a fellow competitor, earning plaudits for their sportsmanship.

At the season’s opening race last week, Cooper Erickson, a sophomore at Stevens Point Area Senior High in Wisconsin, was head for a third-place finish when he claim to have seen the runner ahead of him trip and fall.


Cooper ran back and assisted the competitor, a student from another school, rather than racing by him to cross the finish line in second place.

Stevens Point Area Senior High student Ethan Olds finished fourth, right behind Cooper. He ran back as well as he noticed his teammate pausing to assist.

Together, the two teammates helped their rival stand up and jogged alongside him as they crossed the finish line.

With approximately a half mile remaining in the 3.2 mile race, Ethan told “GMA” that the runner from the opposite school originally raced ahead of him and Cooper.

However, Ethan and Cooper both claimed to have seen him lose his composure and start to stumble as they got closer to the finish line.

“I know our team… has great respect for people that give their best efforts, and that’s what he did,” Cooper said on “Good Morning America.” “He just came up 10 feet short, so I think we both just kind of felt like he deserved to finish that one.”

The unidentifie runner can be seen falling to the ground once more after crossing the finish line in a parent’s video of the event. “GMA” tried contacting the student’s high school but received no response.

When Cooper and Ethan checked on the youngster at the finish line, the student managed to mutter a “thank you” to them. Later that evening, the student contacted Ethan on social media to express his gratitude to him and Cooper for their assistance.

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