LOCAL NEWS

Utah seventh grader helps friend cross the finish line of school race

May 24, 2024, 12:29 PM | Updated: 4:42 pm

(Copper Mountain Middle School)...

(Copper Mountain Middle School)

(Copper Mountain Middle School)

HERRIMAN— A seventh grader is being praised for helping his friend cross the finish line at their school race.

Nate Wegwitz and Rykien Evans are friends and 7th graders at Copper Mountain Middle School.

They decided they both wanted to participate in “Running of the Colts,” which is a race at the end of the school year in honor of the school’s mascot.

“It’s a one mile race where we have the kids race around the boundaries or the border of our school grounds,” Angela Thompson, the Department Chair of Copper Mountain Middle School’s PE Department, said.

The race has grown over the years and allows interested students or staff to run while everyone else cheers them on.

“We got 188 on the field on the course today which we’re really happy about,” Thompson said.

Participants each are awarded a medal and a t-shirt along with some other prizes.

The race presents a unique challenge since Rykien is in a wheelchair.

“People say that this wheelchair is super fast and Nate came up with the idea that we should just do running of the colts,” Rykien said.

They began the race with Nate pushing Rykien – which worked well, until they hit the grass. Nate said the chair was difficult to push in the grass and Rykien said woodchips were getting caught in the wheels. But they didn’t let that stop them.

“We had one of my friends, Chase, he took my wheelchair to the side that where we get off the hill and then we just ran the rest of the way,” Rykien said.

“And I picked him up and ran with him and also helped him walk at times,” Nate said.

It wasn’t an easy run for Nate and Rykien, but they were determined to finish the race.

“Well it’s kind of hard when you run and are trying to carry someone at the same time,” Nate said

“He may have fell once,” Rykien said.

“Once or twice, but we finished in the end so it worked out,” Nate said with a smile.

Adults who were watching as the pair crossed the finish line said they were touched by the scene.

“I didn’t know they were doing that and so when I saw them in the gym I was hoping everything would be okay,” Thompson said. “But when I saw them at the finish line I honestly got a little teary because it was cool to see Nate pushing Rykien through the finish.”

For Nate and Rykien, it was just about being there for a friend.

“I have the best friends, they’re amazing, they’re always super helpful in everything I need,” Rykien said.

“We love it when students step up and they’re kind and help others. It’s something we focus on a lot in our classes — I’m sure the other classes do as well — but in P.E. we talk about being a good sport, helping the other kid, coaching, teaching, helping, it’s not just about winning, it’s about being a better person and to see Rykien and Nate doing that it feels good,” Thompson said.

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Utah seventh grader helps friend cross the finish line of school race