Runners to the rescue

Andrew Cassino, Staff Writer

This weekend, members of the Girls Varsity and Junir Varsity Cross Country teams jumped into action to aid an elderly man and another runner at the meet.

Natalie Sweet (10) was running and saw a girl on the opposing team fall down. Her leg seemed contorted and Sweet was surprised by the amount of people that ran past the girl without stopping, she said. She could tell there was something wrong with the girl and stopped to help her up. Sweet knew that by stopping, she would finish later in the race, but that was not her priority.

The girl was still committed to finishing the race, and Sweet made sure that happened. She and the girl crossed the finish line together even though they came in dead last, she said.

Shortly after the race, Sweet heard somebody ask an older man if he was okay. He responded that he was, but Sweet heard a thump. She then turned around to find the man on the ground seizing. Since nobody else seemed to hear him, Sweet yelled out for help, she said.

Cross Country Coach Meredith Cullen turned the man over, so he was on his back. His face was bleeding after hitting the ground, Sweet said.

Sweet’s teammate, Catherine Mignone (9) also saw the man collapse and quickly grabbed her phone to call 911. Sweet sprinted to find the EMTs in the park and Talia Winiarski (9) searched for her mother, a doctor. After tracking them down, they performed CPR on the man and gave him oxygen.

“We all worked as a team and we all tried to help people who weren’t well, and this shows that we work really well together. We responded really fast and didn’t talk in the moment it just happened. We really came together as a team,” Winiarski said.

Cullen was very proud of her team’s quick thinking during the incident. “They jumped right in, no issues. Nobody hesitated. They did exactly what they were supposed to do,” Cullen said.

“I felt everybody was very prepared for it,” Mignone said. “If something were to happen to me, I’d feel confident that my team would know what to do to help me.”

Sweet said she learned the real importance of looking past the race itself on Saturday. Although stopping to help the girl caused Sweet to finish, she was happy she was able to help and hopes that someone would do the same for her, she said.