How To Motivate A 10 Year Old Boy In Sports Several Track and Field Girl Athletes Prove Their Great Sportsmanship and Substance

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Several Track and Field Girl Athletes Prove Their Great Sportsmanship and Substance

Two separate events recently showed once again how incredibly impressive our young women in America can be – one an example of pure sportsmanship at its best, the other an example of sheer desire, determination and substance.

The first event came at the Washington Class 4A State Girls Track & Field Championship Meet in Pasco, running the 3,200 meters with Bellarmine Prep middle distance standout Nicole Cochran.

Cochran won the event in 10:36, beating Shadle Park’s Andrea Nelson by 3 seconds. Thirty minutes later, race officials disqualified Cochran, ruling that the Harvard runner had run 3 consecutive strides inside the lane next to hers. Bellarmine prep coach Matt Ellis appealed the foul, but his appeal was denied.

The violation occurred on the first day of the meeting, and Cochran was visibly upset because she knew she had not committed a violation. In addition, Cochran was the defending state champion, winning both the 1,600 and 3,200 titles as a junior.

She never felt like herself after the terrible news and the sheer injustice of it all. On the second day of competition, Cochran led the 1,600 and was killed on the final lap when Oak Harbor’s Mietra Smollack took her out on the final turn to win in 4:56.44. Cochran finished in 4th place.

Later in the afternoon, Cochran ran the 800 meters and finished dead last in 2:24.40. “I just wasn’t hanging with them and I kind of gave up after 450 meters,” said a dejected Cochran.

Despite losing Cochran’s points, her teammates were justifiably outraged and came away victorious, winning the team title with 76.5 points to runner-up Gig Harbor’s 65.

“I put a lot of effort into the 3,200,” Cochran said, “and then there was an emotional toll after that, sitting here for an hour while they figured out the 3,200, which was unfortunate because I know I wasn’t in the wrong and I got penalized for that. “

In a show of pure sportsmanship, when the official winner of the 3,200, Andrea Nelson, was awarded first place on the podium, moments later she presented her first place medal to Cochran. Redmond’s Sarah Lord followed up with a second-place Nelson medal, and other medalists followed suit.

“I got chills,” Cochran said. “It shows how much respect distance runners have for each other.”

And now story after story: Ten days after that eventful afternoon, the Washington Association for Interscholastic Activities reinstated Cochran as the rightful winner, overturning a rule-breaking charge filed by race officials.

Mike Colbrese, WIAA executive director, reviewed video of the race showing that Cochran’s teammate ran out of lane, and that the officials’ report also misidentified the lap in question as lap 7 when the infraction actually occurred on lap 6. So much for that botched effort .

The officials were wrong on race day, but they were also absolutely sure they were right and they were also in charge on race day. The cat will meow and the dog will have his day (from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Act 5, Scene 1, meaning “every given person’s moment of glory is inevitable), or, as I like to say: “the right will come out”.

Another event came at the Texas 1A Girls State Track & Field Championship Meet in Austin, where Rochelle High School won the team title. So what’s so unusual, you ask? Just this: Rochelle qualified exactly one athlete for the state meet, and she herself won the state title for her team.

Meet Bonnie Richardson, a study in drive, determination and grit like no other Texas high school athlete.

Richardson, whose middle name can be talent, spent Friday winning the high jump at 5 feet 5 inches, was second in the long jump at 18-7 and third in the discus at 121-0.

Richardson took to the track in high 90-degree heat in Texas on Saturday and promptly won the 200m in 25.03 and followed up the effort by nearly pulling off a major upset in the 100 before finishing 2nd in 12.19 to defending champion Kendra Coleman of Santa Ana.

“Kendra and I have been fighting all year,” Richardson said. “I was amazed that I stayed with her. I didn’t think I was that fast.” Yes, Bonnie Richardson, you are apparently THAT fast.

Did Richardson steal the show in Texas? No, she just single-handedly earned her team a state title. University Interscholastic League officials cannot recall a girl ever winning a state team title on her own.

It’s happened before in a boys state championship when former Baylor Bear and Pittsburgh Steeler Frank Pollard did it for Meridian High School in the 1970s, UIL Director of Athletics Charles Breithaupt said.

Many outstanding female athletes have dominated state competitions, but few have ever made the transition from sprints to field events with Richardson’s success, Beithaupt said. “The way she did it is really impressive.” That, of course, was what everyone who was there to see it happen thought.

And the kicker? Turns out Rochelle High School doesn’t even have a practice track. When asked how she trains, Richardson jokingly replied, “Watch out for the potholes,” adding, “We have a track about 10 miles down the road and that’s where we usually train.”

Richardson’s coach, Jym Dennis, doubted she could do anything special at the state meet, but wisely kept quiet, not wanting to put any pressure on his prized athlete.

Last year, Richardson won the state title in the long jump, but did not medal in the high jump and discus.

And an extra big fortune for Rochelle High School? Bonnie Richardson is a junior.

Richardson also competes on Rochelle’s tennis team and led Rochelle’s basketball team to the state semifinals last season.

“I would play football if my parents would let me,” Richarson said, adding, “Not quarterback. Defense.” She sounds like my girl- nimble, competitive and ready to solve any questions on the field of battle.

Lou Holtz, one of college football’s legendary coaches, was known for many quotes, including this one: “When all is said and done, more is said than done.” Somehow, I think Lou Holtz would have been a big fan of Bonnie Richardson and her outstanding effort on that hot Texas afternoon when she single-handedly delivered the state title to Rochelle High School.

And there it is: Nicole Cochran, every girl medalist standing at the 3,200-meter ceremony, Cochran’s teammates and Bonnie Richardson, all ordinary young women who did extraordinary things because they could and wanted to.

Copyright © 2008 Ed Bagley

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