November 04, 2011
There is good sportsmanship, and then there is Izaic Yorks. The Tacoma (Wash.) Lakes High senior won the Westside Classic cross country race and then did something virtually unprecedented: He refused to stretch or go into cool down exercises.
Instead, Yorks dedicated his post-race time to the other runners he'd just beaten to the finish line. According to the Tacoma News Tribune, as each one of them crossed the line, he greeted them personally, shaking their hand. In total, the new Westside Classic champion -- he finished the 5-kilometer course in 15:22.8 -- shook hands with 93 fellow runners, yelling to wish them well as they passed.
How could any athlete do that after pushing themselves for more than three miles at a pace only slightly slower than five minutes per mile? Was he trying to get an early start on a future career in local politics?
"His goal has been to win this race for a long time," Lakes coach Joe Clark told the News Tribune. "All season long, he was constantly doing every little possible thing to become a better runner."
Yorks' comments after the victory certainly provided proof to that claim of fitness. Instead of complain about extra hills on the course, the senior said he enjoyed them. Instead of being content with his own time, Yorks thanked the runner-up -- Tacoma (Wash.) Peninsula senior Curtis King -- for pushing him throughout the race.
"You can never count Curtis out," he said. "He's a really dangerous guy to run against. He can just come up behind you and take it."
Of course, that comment makes it sound as if King was on Yorks' heels throughout the race. In fact, the Lakes senior won the race by a whopping 33 seconds, a massive edge over a 5-kilometer race.
All more proof that Yorks is a perfect example of exemplary sportsmanship, no matter how he does at Saturday's state meet in Pasco, Wash. Knowing Yorks, he'll be there to shake plenty of hands at the finish, no matter when he crosses the line.
"I think [winning the Westside Classic] tells me that I'm in shape to go after it next week," Yorks told the News Tribune.