CINCINNATI -- A western Ohio high school runner who helped a struggling competitor finish their race is being praised for her sportsmanship and trying to cope with the attention it has sparked.
Meghan Vogel appreciates the accolades but said Tuesday that she is a bit overwhelmed by the praise that has been pouring in since Saturday's track meet in Columbus.
The 17-year-old West Liberty-Salem High School junior was in last place in the 3,200-meter run as she caught up to Arlington High School sophomore Arden McMath, whose body was giving out. Instead of zipping past McMath to avoid the last-place finish, Vogel put McMath's arm around her shoulders, half-dragging and half-carrying her about 30 meters to the finish line.
Vogel, who pushed McMath over the line before crossing it, has been getting Facebook and Twitter messages from friends and strangers saying she has inspired them.
"It's an honor and very humbling,'' Vogel said in a telephone interview. "I just thought I was doing the right thing, and I think others would have done the same.''
But McMath, 16, of Findlay, said in a telephone interview that she's not so sure.
"I really don't think just everyone would have done that,'' she said. "I just couldn't believe what she did -- especially pushing me in front of her -- and I'm so grateful.''
Both girls are a little hazy about the details.
"The last thing I remember was seeing Arden fall and then trying to get her to the finish line,'' Vogel said.
McMath remembered feeling like she was "blacking in and out'' and falling before Vogel helped her.
Vogel, who had won the 1,600-meter race earlier, said she was tired from that when she began the longer race.
The girls say they hope to stay in touch.
"[The attention] has been nice, but it also will be nice to get back to normal,'' Vogel said.