BLOOMFIELD, Iowa – A high school runner was disqualified from a cross-country meet after he helped a runner from another team cross the finish line.
Zach Hougland came in first place. He stood near the finish lining waiting for everyone to finish. That’s when he noticed Garret Hinson collapsing.
Hougland didn’t see anyone else notice, so he stepped in to help.
“He looked very dehydrated, he was holding his chest, so I yell, ‘Is anyone going to help him?’ And no one said anything and no one did anything so I just jumped in and started walking beside him and I gave him a push into the finish line,” Houghland said.
Hinson was taken to a hospital and treated for dehydration.
Hougland was then told that he was disqualified for helping his opponent.
The Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) uses the same rules set by a national federation. The rules state that no runner can help, or receive help, from another runner. A spokesman for IHSAA, Bud Legg, says the officials made “the proper call.”
Fans and coaches tried convincing officials to overturn the disqualification, but the officials stuck with their original call.