Rarely does the 144th finisher in the boys' Division 1 all-state cross-country finals end up as the top headline from the season's top meet, but allow our friends at the Worcester Telegram & Gazette to explain...
It’s one of the most courageous, heart-wrenching finishes you’ll see at any level of sports, from pee-wees to professionals.
Suffering from what was later determined to be severe dehydration, the 16-year-old junior from Southboro fell several times while coming down the home stretch of the 5-kilometer Franklin Park course, crawling on all fours, trying to get up, falling flat on his face, and eventually rolling across the finish line while emotional fans cried, cheered and exhorted him on.
For the record, Perron wound up 144th out of 146 finishers. He was believed to be somewhere in the top 30, and leading the Pioneers’ contingent, before his muscles began failing him. He was seen by his sister grabbing the back of his thighs as he rounded the final turn heading into the home straightaway, and he fell for the first time shortly after that with about 60 meters to go.
What followed was an emotional, gutsy performance that had to be seen to be believed. After stumbling and falling, Perron rolled over and returned shakily to his feet, only to fall backward as though he were drunk. Officials ran over and checked on him from several feet away.
“I don’t remember it perfectly, but I pretty much remember most of it,” said Perron, who continued to crawl on his hands and knees, almost tipping over at one point. “I definitely was conscious the whole time. I knew what was going on.
“I was surprised that I couldn’t even stand up. I kept moving — there wasn’t really a choice. I just kept working.”
Teammate Cam Tieuli, a St. John’s captain, tried to grab his arm and help him up as he came by, but quickly stopped, realizing any assistance would result in disqualification. Another teammate, Dan Zawalich, patted Perron on the back as he passed by to offer encouragement. Perron was still probably 20 meters from the finish line.
Hop over to Telegram.com for the complete article.
What's your take? Should his teammates or other runners have helped him out? Leave you thoughts in our comments section.
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