This weekend, the Garmin MileSplit TX XC Invitational hosted by Denton Guyer was billed as a competitive cross country meet -- and it was.
However, this weekend was also so much more than that. Saturday's date was September 11, 2021, the 20-year anniversary of the terrorist attack on our country.
Thousands of lives were lost, billions of dollars were spent in damage, re-construction and war, and our way of living as a country was changed for ever.
The jayvee and varsity girls team from Plano High School competed as they were expected to do, but they didn't just toe the line with their school issued uniforms. They were dressed with signs of honor and respect in their hair, on their faces, and in their hearts and minds.
"A lot of us may have lost somebody in that time, so we did it just to remember them, and while we may have not lost somebody, we did it for those who did lose somebody, so we tried to make it very special,"
Courtney Hurst, Plano Sr HS senior
American flag ribbons were tied at the ends of pony tails while stars and stripes were on the cheeks of several Plano runners. "A lot of us may have lost somebody in that time, so we did it just to remember them, and while we may have not lost somebody, we did it for those who did lose somebody, so we tried to make it very special," Plano senior Courtney Hurst said.
None of the girls on the Plano cross country team were alive on September 11, 2001, when airplanes were flown into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and crashed into American soil.
But that didn't stop them from observing and showing reverence while they did what they enjoy doing. Plano junior Kelsie Martin expressed just that saying, "we tried to respect the people who died today because there were thousands of people and we wanted to respect that while running."
In the heat of competition, only one person and only one team can win a cross country meet, but that doesn't mean that the competitive nature gets the best of the young people who compete in this sport.
"we didn't know him personally, he was a student that passed sadly, we're just trying to honor him, which is what he did."
Elaina Kellen, Plano Sr. HS senior
The Plano girls shared that the camaraderie of cross country is why they love to run high school cross county. Believe it or not, after training to beat the competition and lining up with the sole intent to do so, the athletes still find time to encourage and praise one another during and after competition. "It's very nice to have people on another team to say like good job you're almost done," Hurst said.
The Plano girls also combined that love and respect with reverence to a peer of their own. They also ran for Dylan Dorrell who wasn't a member of their team. Senior Elaina Kellen said, "we didn't know him personally, he was a student that passed sadly, we're just trying to honor him, which is what he did."
All Martin, Kellen, and the other Plano girls did on Saturday was show a little respect that went a long way.