Finishing in last place doesn’t usually garner the type of attention Meghan Vogel has received since she ran in the 3,200-meter race at the 2012 state track meet, but the touching act of humanity she performed during that contest earned the West Liberty, Ohio, teen the Lou Holtz/Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame 2013 “Do Right” Award.
With about 100 meters left, Vogel – who less than one hour before ran her personal best of 4:58:31 to win the 1,600-meter race – found herself in the unusual position of bringing up the rear. She was exhausted but determined to finish.
Just then she saw competitor Arden McMath of Arlington High School in Findlay stagger and fall about 50 meters ahead of her. Following her instincts, Vogel picked up McMath and helped her across the finish line, making sure to have McMath cross ahead of her, just as she was ahead of her when she fell.
Her compassion brought the crowd at Jesse Owens Stadium in Columbus to a standing ovation, and although making physical contact with a fellow athlete normally would be grounds for disqualification, officials took into consideration the unusual circumstances and did not penalize either runner.
Videos of Vogel helping McMath, who suffered dehydration and leg cramps, across the finish line went viral on the internet, and Vogel was interviewed on television stations across the United States and Canada.
Vogel, is the daughter of Jason and Ann Vogel. She is attending Penn State University and hopes to major in anthropology.