“You’re with me, I’ve got you,” said the girl referred to as an “angel that day.”
Gracie Bucher is an 8th grader, which means that she and her peers are certainly old enough to understand the concept of rules and what the penalties are for breaking them. However, she’s way ahead of the curve when it comes to lessons in humanity, all thanks to a compassionate 12th-grade competitor in a recent cross country race.
Pictured: Gracie Bucher
Liana Blomgren of Mountain Lake High School had the finish line in sight when she saw Gracie of Windom, Minnesota ahead of her, staggering and then collapsing face-first into the ground. Gracie got up under her own power, but then immediately collapsed again. Repeated efforts to stand were met with fall after fall. Her mom, watching from the stands, called the sight “excruciating.” Knowing the rules, Gracie’s mom, Missy, didn’t approach her daughter since any contact would mean disqualification.
Pictured: Liana Blomgren
Liana, having witnessed Gracie’s struggle from behind her, knew the rules as well, but chose to disregard them to come to the aid of her competitor, a stranger. She recalls to KARE 9 News, “I knew she wasn’t going to get to the finish line by herself and I knew that she needed somebody and nobody else was there for her.”
Stopping above her, she pulled Gracie up to her feet then supported her weight as the two crossed the finish line arm-in-arm.
They both finished and were both disqualified. Gracie would later find out that she had run the race while battling mononucleosis. Liana’s dad and trainer, Kyle, supports her decision to take the DQ to help someone in need. He says, “I don’t believe there’s another sport where an athlete would be allowed on the field in that condition. And it took an 18-year-old girl to step in and help.”
Naturally, many who learned of Liana’s act are upset at the disqualification, but Liana’s certainly made her peace with it. She says, “I don’t remember what place I was in the section meet last year. I don’t remember what place I was in the section meet the year before that. But I know I’m going to remember this.”
It looks like she may emerge from the experience with a new friend, as well.