Runner Collapses During Meet and Becomes Unconscious; Teammate Ensures He’s Not Left Behind

Legendary baseball player Cal Ripken Jr. once said, “Sometimes I think sportsmanship is a little bit forgotten in place of the individual attention.”

That’s especially true these days as young athletes vie to make the game-winning play or to be the best in their chosen sport.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with that, but it’s important to remember that good sportsmanship is what really matters. A prime example of that was on display this month in Anchorage, Alaska, at a state high school boys’ cross-country running championship.

According to KTUU-TV, Colton Merriner and Geremu Daggett — both of the Grace Christian Grizzlies, an Anchorage school — were mere feet from the finish line of a grueling race when, tragically, Merriner took a nasty dive as his feet seemed to fail him.

Merriner tried to stand and keep moving but immediately realized something bad had happened that prevented him from going any farther. That’s when Daggett — his teammate who was inches from the finish line — quickly turned around to help the struggling Merriner regain his footing — enough to drag them both across the finish line in an incredible display of sportsmanship.


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“I was pushing him, and then I started getting ahead, but I kept looking back just to make sure he was right next to me on that heel. And right before the finish I kept looking, so I saw him fall, and I’m like if I cross this finish line, I can’t go back and help my teammate,” Daggett said.

He added, “So I stopped right there and ran back and helped him up. In in the moment, I didn’t have time to think about rules or whatever, I just helped him up — well, more dragged him across the finish line.”

The moment when Merriner fell, prompting his teammate to help him, was captured on video.

Have you ever seen an athlete collapse at a high school event?

Merriner, a sophomore, appeared to be in and out of consciousness as he was dragged across the finish line by Daggett, according to KTUU. Their coach ran to the injured runner and signaled for on-site medical attention.

“The mindset our coach always gives us is that you are a sprinter now; that’s what she tells us,” Merriner said as he recalled his final moments in the race. “OK, I have 200 meters left, you know, everything I have, this is it. And in my mind, I didn’t even consider the possibility that I would not be able to finish.”

According to KTUU, medics on the scene said Merriner had lost consciousness for two minutes and suffered from a heartbeat of 180 for approximately 30 minutes.

The young man was treated with intravenous fluids at a nearby hospital and was fine, KTUU reported.


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Sadly, since Merriner couldn’t finish the race on his own, he was disqualified. As a result, he could not add points to his team’s total, but by the grace of God, the story didn’t end there.

As it turns out, the Grace Christian boys are clearly the cross-country team to beat, because even with the medical emergency and a loss of points as a result, the school ended up winning the state championship by two points, making for one heck of a memorable experience.

“Geremu modeled what a captain and an older teammate should act like, and so in that sense, it has showed me what I can be and should be when I’m an upperclassman,” Merriner said of his  teammate and friend who came to his rescue, sacrificing his own race time as a result.

Even though the race marked the end of his high school career, Daggett said he has no regrets about springing into action to save his teammate.

“I wouldn’t change one bit of it,” Daggett said. “God has a plan, and he had me there, and I am thankful that I could help him.”

The parents and coaches of these fine young men should be praised, too, as they clearly have taught them the most important life lessons and to lean on their faith and courage, especially in times of distress.

Ryan Ledendecker is a freelance journalist and writer. He began reporting news and writing commentary during the 2014 Ferguson riots. Prior to that, he worked as a web editor and columnist for an award-winning local newspaper.

Ryan Ledendecker is a freelance writer covering politics and breaking news. He previously worked as a columnist and web editor for an award-winning local newspaper. When he’s not writing, he’s honing his competitive BBQ skills. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Truth Social.






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