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Sportsmanship Wins at State Track Meet

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From guest blogger Hannah Rose Sacks

At Ohio's Division III state track meet this past weekend, junior Meghan Vogel of West Liberty-Salem High School won big. First, she won a state title in the 1,600-meter race. Then she did something really impressive.

In Vogel's second race of the day—with less than an hour to prepare after her 1,600-meter win—she competed in the 3,200-meter race. While she didn't finish first, she did win a standing ovation from the crowd, reports the Springfield News-Sun.

Within 20 feet of the finish line, fellow competitor Arden McMath of Arlington High School collapsed. Rather than running past her, Vogel helped McMath to her feet and reach the finish line, making sure McMath crossed before her.

Vogel's actions have earned her a tremendous response, with the YouTube video of Vogel and McMath's crossing the finish line already receiving more than 2 million views. ESPN's coverage has also already garnered more than 25,000 recommendations on Facebook.

Vogel doesn't understand why everyone is so interested, telling ESPN, "It's strange to have people telling me that this was such a powerful act of kindness and using words like 'humanity.' It's weird. When I hear words like that, I think of Harriet Tubman and saving people's lives. I don't consider myself a hero. I just did what I knew was right and what I was supposed to do."

While she may not understand others' response, she admits it was meaningful for her, telling the News-Sun that helping McMath finish the race meant more to her than winning the state championship.

Although the rules state a runner is to be automatically disqualified for aiding another competitor, the management did not disqualify McMath or Vogel, awarding them 14th and 15th place, reports the newspaper.

Check out the video, via YouTube user hbumbalo:

Photo: Meghan Vogel, right, helps Arden McMath to the finish line after McMath collapsed yards short in the Division 3 3200-meter finals of the Ohio High School Athletic Association state track meet at Jesse Owens Stadium in Columbus. Mike Ullery/Piqua Daily Call/AP)

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