Attendees at the state middle school track meet in Southern Illinois learned a valuable lesson from Trenton (Ill.) Wesclin Junior High eighth-graders Claire and Chloe Gruenke: No twin left behind.
In the 800-meter race, Chloe felt a "pull and pop" in her thigh on the first curve of the second lap and collapsed to the ground, the 13-year-old told KTVI-TV. Rather than pass her twin sister by, Claire threw Chloe over her shoulders and piggybacked her sister 370 of the final 400 meters. As the twins approached the finish line, Claire set Chloe down and the two crossed the finish line together.
While they tied for last place in the event, they championed sportsmanship for all those in attendance.
"It's about showing compassion, love and sportsmanship," Claire told the local Fox affiliate as her sister stood smiling next to her. "Even if you lose and help somebody, it's still worth it. The energy from the crowd made me stronger. They were saying, 'I can't believe you just did that.'"
Claire didn't finish empty-handed, either, winning the 1,600-meter competition in an impressive 5:23, but the support she showed for her sister was worth more than any medal. The lesson: "Never leave them behind," added Claire. "As long as you help them, your heart is warmed."
The sisters will compete for Wesclin Senior High in 2015. Maybe they'll carry the Warriors together by then.
(h/t Extra Mustard)