COLUMBUS JUNCTION, Iowa -- A high school runner in Iowa won a big race, but he won't get credit. He was disqualified for an act of kindness. During the district cross-country championship, Zach Hougland helped another runner.
Hougland’s coach said the other runner was on the ground unconscious. Without a second thought, Hougland helped him get closer to the finish line.
"I see this kid, he's like dying and what not, and he's about ready to fall," Hougland told WHO-TV.
However, Iowa state athletic rules say no runner can help or receive aid from another runner, so they were both disqualified.
“I didn't want anyone to see me break down because I couldn't take it, all that work for nothing. But If I could do it all again I wouldn't change a thing because I did what I thought was right," a heartbroken Hougland told WHO-TV.
The rest of Zach’s team scored well enough to finish overall and qualified for state. That means Zach will still be able to compete in their meet this Saturday.