Wisconsin High School Runner Carries Competitor to the Finish Line

Teagan Monfils lost the race but won in sportsmanship

ByKATIE KINDELAN
October 29, 2014, 3:20 PM

— -- When Teagan Monfils looks back at her high school cross country running record, she will forever have a DQ, or disqualification, next to one important race.

That DQ mark will, however, as her coach says, have “one heck of a bold asterisk by it.”

Monfils, a junior at Shawano High School in Shawano, Wisconsin, was disqualified from a sectional cross country 5K race Saturday for carrying a competitor across the finish line.

“I’m out there watching our girls compete and had a parent come up and asked if I watched the finish line,” Monfils’ coach, Steve Stomberg, told ABC News today. “I said, ‘No,’ and she told me that Teagan had been disqualified.”

“I went to the officials and they confirmed they had to disqualify her for aiding another runner,” Stomberg said. “They said they were very proud of what she did, but that is the rule.”

Officials were following National Federation of State High School Associations rules that say you can't aid or assist another runner.

Monfils told local ABC affiliate WBAY that she knew the rules, but she didn’t think of the consequences when she stopped to help the runner.

“I know you're not supposed to touch another runner,” Monfils told the station. “At that point, before I even thought about I'm going to get disqualified if I touch her, I was just like, the first thing was I need to help her, because she needs to finish."

The injured runner, a senior from DC Everest High School, was taken by ambulance to a hospital but was not seriously injured, according to Stomberg.

Monfils’ coach said the two girls, who were both disqualified, have been in touch on social media and plan to reunite soon.

“She’s just kind of like these are things that we should do and athletes should help other athletes,” Stomberg said of the Monfils’ reaction to the attention her good deed has received. “It just came natural to her, nothing out of the ordinary.”

A video of the finish line moment captured by a spectator shows a handful of runners running pass Monfils towards the finish line, not stopping as Monfils struggled to carry her competitor with her.

“It’s just remarkable about all the kids that went by her, but something told Teagan that she wasn’t going to qualify for state and she wanted to help this athlete out,” Stomberg said. “It was incredible.”

Monfils has been running since the fifth grade, according to Stomberg, who added Monfils’ act of sportsmanship was a first in his 16 years of coaching.

“You see sportsmanship things that take place and people encouraging each other but to actually see someone stop and pick someone up and help them across the finish line, I’ve never seen anything like that,” he said.

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