A Clark County athlete is gaining national attention after she did something rarely seen in sports over the weekend at the state track meet in Columbus.
West Liberty-Salem's Meghan Vogel, a junior, was headed toward the finish line during Saturday’s Ohio Division III girls state meet.
Vogel was running in the 3,200 meter race and was in last place with less than 15 meters to go. Arden McMath, a sophomore from Arlington High School, was slightly ahead of her, but suddenly collapsed on the track.
Instead of passing McMath and crossing the finish line, Vogel helped McMath to her feet, placed arm around her shoulders and carried her across the finish line.
Ohio Athletic Association rules automatically disqualify a runner for helping another runner during a race, but the officials allowed McMath and Vogel’s finish to remain in the results.
Vogel's mother, Ann Vogel, is West Liberty-Salem's track and field coach. Ann Vogel said she's very proud of her daughter, and the response has been amazing.
"People were coming up to us in tears and hugging both of us after the race," Ann Vogel said.
She said she was surprised by some negative comments on the Internet and talk radio criticizing her daughter for a lack of competitiveness.
"I can't believe people would twist an act of kindness like that," she said.
The girls say they hope to stay in touch and expect the public attention to die down soon. Both have appeared on national news shows and ESPN.
The response to her act of sportsmanship has taken Meghan Vogel by surprise.
"It's been crazy. I can't understand why everyone wants to talk to me, but I guess I'm getting used to it now," she said. "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."