Don't take championship away for an act of kindness
This petition made change with 147,620 supporters!
On October 22nd, 2015,17-year-old Zachary Hougland sprinted across the finish line and into the record books as Davis County High School's first cross country district champion. He was thrilled. But when he turned and saw another runner from an opposing team looking pale and pained, clutching his chest, he quickly stopped celebrating.
With nobody helping the runner, Zach did what he felt any true athlete should do -- he ran back to him and helped him to the finish line. And because of this, the Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) has stripped him of his win.
Please join me in calling on the IHSAA to restore Zachary Hougland’s first-place title. Good works should be rewarded, not punished.
The IHSAA claims it was only following the national rule that states you can’t assist another runner. But that rule exists to prevent competitors from cheating, which Zach was certainly not doing in this case. When a rule is used to punish an act of human decency, you undermine the very sportsmanship you are trying to protect.
If Zach’s win is not restored, he will miss out on his last chance to fulfill his longtime dream of competing individually in the state championship. Yet, despite the disappointment and frustration this setback has caused, he says he wouldn’t take back his actions. The Iowa High School Athletic Association may have taken away Zach's victory, but it’s clear they haven’t diminished his courage.
The IHSAA can right its wrong before it’s too late, making sure Zach gets to take his rightful place at the state championship. Let's support Zach and ask that his victory be given back to him.
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