Brooklyn Cunningham, a Sophomore from Coeur d’Alene Charter High School, came to Boise, Idaho with high hopes to medal in the 100 meter dash in Division 2a.  A dark, rainy morning was the start of State track on Friday, May 15th. The rain had subsided in the afternoon when the running events began, but left athletes cold and damp. A field of runners took their mark for the 100 meter dash in two heats of Prelims. Brooklyn Cunningham found herself as the favorite for the finals the next day with the fastest time of 12.99.

The anticipated day of Finals broke with dark, heavy clouds and wind on Saturday, May 16th. The Parade of Athletes began with schools from all over the State of Idaho in Divisions 1a, 2a and 3a filled the entire football field. Next, the running events began with the 100 &110 meter hurdles, the 4 x 200 meter relay, then Brooklyn’s 100 meter event.

Eight girls lined up, placed their blocks, prepped their legs, then got into the blocks as the starter called out, “Mark! Set!” and the boom of the gun began the race. Eight girls surged forward for their 12 to 13 second run with only a short distance to go Brooklyn fell and watched her competitors pass her by.

As the girls passed by, there is one athlete who turned.  One athlete who showed compassion.  One athlete who became her first responder.

Our first responder, a Junior from West Side High in Dayton, Idaho, Taya Nash doesn't do this just once, but twice.  

She's apart of 4 x 100 meter relay team who entered the Finals with a 3rd place time.   This young team of Rachael Reeder - freshman, Saige Fredricksen - sophomore, Taya Nash and anchoring the team Emaly Hodges - sophomore took their place on the track.  Rachael, who ran the first leg, placed her blocks, prepped her legs and readied herself to run.  The starter called out, "Mark!  Set!" then the boom of the gun was immediately followed by another shot signaling the girls to stop the race and return.

The announcer called out, "the West Side team is disqualified!" for a false start and the freshman, Rachael Reeder walked away from the 7 remaining teams.  The hopes of her team dashed.  The responsibility of the mistake falling heavily upon this freshman's shoulders.  Dazed with regret she walked into the inner football field and it is our first responder, Taya Nash, who took the lead and ran to her teammate to comfort her while their race, their chance, was circling them to its conclusion.

Taya's sportsmanship is commendable, but it takes a true strength of character to run to a teammate whose mistake took away both their chances. 

Thank you Taya for your compassion when it was most needed and being Brooklyn and Rachael's first responder.                ~Cindee

West Side High's Track and Field 4x100m Relay Team

Rachael Reeder, Saige Fredricksen, Taya Nash & Emaly Hodges

Rachael Reeder, Saige Fredricksen, Taya Nash & Emaly Hodges

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