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Putting Team First

Katie Dyk, Alyssa Turner, Charity ArnPhoto - From left to right: Katie Dyk, Alyssa Turner, Charity Arn

Sometimes, sports’ most memorable moments can’t adequately be captured in an article or box score. The 2012 Northwest Conference track and field championships was one such moment.

Going into the meet, the George Fox women’s team set a goal of a 1-2-3-4 finish in the heptathlon. Sophomore Alexis Arnold, ranked No. 1 in the nation in the event, was favored to win it all, while junior Alyssa Turner was expected to vie for one of the top spots. Competitors for the remaining top places, though, were a question mark, and in order to win a conference title, it was essential that the Bruins carry most of them.

Two days into the competition, Turner was on pace to shatter her personal best, move into the top five in school history, and contend for a spot at the NCAA national meet. But after analyzing the results of the first six events, the team realized its dream of achieving a first- through fourth-place finish was in sight – provided freshmen Charity Arn and Katie Dyk got some help to defeat the Willamette runner who stood in third place.

A decision was made: Turner would sacrifice her shot at personal glory for the team’s sake. Rather than try to win the race herself, she would pace the younger runners in the heptathlon’s final event, the 800 meters. Turner paced Dyk through the first lap, and with 300 meters to go, she stepped outside and let Dyk take the lead, all the while yelling encouragement to her teammate. Arn ran close behind.

Then, with 200 meters left, Dyk made her move and sprinted with her Willamette competitor, matching her stride for stride. Meanwhile, Turner continued to push both Arn and Dyk. Ultimately, Turner’s willingness to put the team first paid off: George Fox achieved its goal of a 1-2-3-4 finish.

“Alyssa had sacrificed a score that had been three years in the making,” Coach John Smith said. “Only those close to her know the hard work, determination, tears and trials that went into those three years. Looking at her then, though, you wouldn’t have known it. Alyssa was more joyful than everyone else wearing the Bruin blue and gold that day.”

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