SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah high school senior disqualified himself during a cross country state championship meet on Wednesday so he could carry his injured teammate across the finish line.
It’s the race Sean Rausch and Blake Lewis had been waiting for all season.
“Our training plan, everything was geared toward state, so we wanted to win state for sure,” Rausch told KSTU.
Blake, a junior, was 400 meters from the finish line when he felt a sharp pain in his leg.
“Then at like 300 it started really hurting and then 200 I just heard my bone snap,” he said.
It was so loud, his mom, Brooke Lewis, heard it from where she was cheering.
“I thought he stepped on a branch,” she said.
He fell to the ground, screaming in agony.
“It was excruciating,” Blake Lewis said. “It was like no other pain I’ve ever felt.”
“I have never actually heard him scream like that before,” Brooke said.
Blake broke his tibia during the race. Doctors say he had a cyst in his bone that burst. Brooke was about to hop the fence and run to her son when she saw his teammate, Sean Rausch, run up to him.
“I put him on my shoulders and he was screaming the whole way, but I kept telling him, ‘We’re a family, we’re a team, and we’re all in this together,'” Rausch said.
The rule at state championships is that you can’t touch another player during a meet, so both boys were disqualified, and for Rausch that was a pretty big sacrifice.
“This is my senior year,” he said. “This was obviously my last opportunity to race at state so this was obviously a big meet for me.”
“He picked me up and brought me to the finish line and disqualified himself for something greater and definitely made my day,” Blake Lewis said.
Rausch carried Lewis to the edge of the finish line and then helped him as he hobbled across.
“As soon as I saw him, I gave him a big hug and told him he’s a hero to me,” Blake Lewis said.
“I’m not a hero, I’m just Blake’s brother,” Rausch said.
Sacrificing his success to literally pick up his teammate when he’s down.
“I’ve run thousands of miles with this guy, and like when someone picks you up you know that they love you, you know,” Blake Lewis said.
“You hope that your son would be that kind of kid, that your son would pick that person up and carry them in, and I’m just so grateful for Sean that he was that kid,” Brooke Lewis said.
There is one more race opportunity for Rausch. The team is competing in the Nike cross regional in Arizona next month. Lewis won’t be able to run, but he’ll certainly be cheering on Rausch and the rest of his team from the sidelines.