Fresno Christian High School
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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

Letter to the Editor
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I accidentally won a medal

I cheated. The medal I won was undeserved. I thought I earned 19th place out of 200 other freshman and sophomore girls, but I was caught breaking the rules.

None of this was intentional of course, but it all started at noon before the big cross country race at the Kingsburg Gun Club, Oct. 29. I rushed to the girls’ restroom to change, feeling ready for the race. As I did so, I set a personal goal: run my best and run for God.

As I was changing, I looked through my bag for my socks, but they seemed to have disappeared. My teammate Ashley Erickson, ’13, watched my frustration and dashed out of the bathroom in search for an alternative. She returned with packaging foam from the junior high secretary, Lisa Dooley, and I created my own socks.

I proceeded to wrap my feet in the thin material and prayed that I would not get any blisters as I stuffed them into my tennis shoes. Together, we ran out and began to search for our cross country coach, Janae Ford, to leave as soon as possible.

The team got in the cars, and I told Janae about my sock situation. She just laughed and said she would lend me her socks, but I declined her offer because it was my responsibility to be prepared. As a result, I needed to deal with my current situation.

As soon as we arrived I felt confident and promised myself to run quick when Ford gave me a goal: pass three girls on the course. I determined to refuse to listen to any negative voices in my head, pushing me through all circumstances that day.

Time was short, so as a team we began our three mile ‘get to know the course’ jog – in order to understand where we’re running, we essentially run the course twice. Rachel Wilhelm, ’11, knew the course from previous years of running, so we followed her along with a map none of us could interpret. This, of course, did not bode well.

We kept moving at our own speed and hit the point in the route where the crowds cheer as the runners complete their second mile and turn to start the third mile loop. We noticed the boys were lining up at the starting line, so we stopped checking out the course and decided to go support the rest of our team.

I planned to run the next race with Erickson. When the gun shot, the tight pack of runners raced forward. Excitement and pride overwhelmed me because I was not pushed to the back of the pack; I sped up my pace and girls continued to fall behind me.

The first mile I kept moving strong, completely focused on the three girls in front of me who I was determined to beat, but as they turned the corner before me, they disappeared. My pace pushed faster, but I reached a point when an awkward feeling began to form in my stomach.

At the point where we had stopped exploring, a guide explained that runners were to follow a straight path the first time through. While running, I followed the guide’s rules, but at the end of the hill there was a turn onto the grass which I took without a second thought. Out of nowhere, girls who I knew were much faster than me sped past me and a huge crowd was in front of me.

Off to the side, Janae kept yelling at me to keep going and to sprint to the end. I had a sinking feeling in my stomach, knowing that I had done something wrong considering I passed the finish line at a 21:50 three mile, when my usually mile is 10 minutes. As I passed through, I was congratulated for getting a 19th place medal.

During the entire awards ceremony, the only words running through my head were “oh crap.” Then the judge shoved the medal into my hands. I forced my jaw to stay shut even though every part of me wanted it to free fall. To add an extra topping of guilt girls who finished 17th and 18th told me what a great job I did, with agony lingering in every word.

When I showed Janae the medal that I knew I had unfairly earned, her expression of appreciation caused me to feel thankful for such a supportive coach. In the end, she gave the medal back and realized that three feet before the turn I took was a loop for the third mile.

The experience turned out to be a positive because no one was bitter about the whole embarrassing situation. I also gained a personal best on my two mile time. I was disqualified for shortening the race, but my whole team was still supportive.

For more from me about my experiences on the cross country team, read the Nov. 5 article, Cross country almost killed me!

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