Raymond Central senior Logan Joe ran faster than ever at last week's Beatrice Invitational cross country meet.
“A lot faster than I was running the race,'' he said.
He didn't win — or even finish. Neither did Wilber-Clatonia sophomore Matt Petracek. They did something more important.
Both stopped to help Raymond Central's J.D. Allington, who had collapsed from heat exhaustion in the tall grass on the side of the trail in a woody area away from spectators. He's OK now after spending the night in the hospital.
“I saw him collapse to the side. One of his teammates had stopped and was yelling for help,'' Petracek said. “I just stopped and did my best to help him.''
Joe was that teammate. He and Allington, a senior who finished seventh in Class C at last year's state meet, were among the race leaders when Joe started dropping back. He could see that Allington was tiring in the heat and humidity, too, but said that's not unusual in the final stretch of a race.
“I came around the corner and J.D. was laying in the grass, out cold,'' Joe said. “I ran like 10 feet past him. And then I thought, 'I have to go back and make sure he's OK.' ”
Allington had lost consciousness and appeared to be suffering from some kind of seizures, caused by problems with his electrolytes and a magnesium deficiency.
Allington remembers starting to feel weaker. He couldn't catch his breath, and his peripheral vision turned to black.
“I took a deep inhale,” he said, “and just blacked out.”
Joe wiped off Allington's face and tried to sit him up. He yelled for help. Petracek was the only one to stop.
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They didn't talk, Joe said. They just tried to lift Allington to his feet.
“We were kind of on the same page: 'We have to get him some help,''' Joe said. “When you are running in that intense heat and get unconscious, it's not a good thing. Minutes can make a difference.''
Joe knew he had to go for help. When a parent arrived to help prop up Allington, he took off. He ran first to a group of spectators a quarter of a mile away and then to the finish line, where he found his coach, Dale Rasmussen, and Allington's dad, Tony.
Allington was soon on the way to Beatrice Community Hospital and regained consciousness in the ambulance. Joe was among the teammates who visited him that night.
“We're a pretty tight team,'' Joe said. “We all like to make sure we're doing OK and push each other as strong as we can. He's definitely the best runner we have. We like to keep him going so he can keep pushing us to try for our best.''
Officials at both schools are proud of Joe and Petracek for stopping. Rasmussen said that shows the character of the boys and the sport.
Wilber-Clatonia Athletic Director Keith Muller said he wasn't surprised to hear of Petracek's contribution.
“He's that kind of kid,'' Muller said. “He looks out for other people.''
Allington is glad Petracek did. He doesn't like to think of what could have happened if everyone had run by him, leaving him nearly hidden from view in the grass.
“I'm pretty grateful,'' he said. “It sounds like nobody would have known I was down until after they finished the race.''
Allington was cleared to run again Saturday and will be competing with his team in the Milford Invitational on Thursday. Wilber-Clatonia will be there, too.
He's already told Joe that he appreciates him being such a good teammate. He says if someone points out Petracek, he'd like to have a minute with him, too. He has a few things to say. So do his teammates.
“Thank you and I really appreciate it,'' Allington said. “I guess just thanks a bunch.''