The 2006 Arizona high school cross country championships were held at the Cave Creek municipal golf course in Phoenix. The weather was decent for running, and as is common in the 3A category, the kids and the schools from the reservation dominated the event. A Tuba City boy (above) was the first to reach the line in the boys event, followed closely by a runner from Ganado, Ariz. The top runners cross the line with energy to spare nearly every time. Then come the middle runners, and it is not uncommon to watch them collapse just past the finish line.
A trainer pours water on the forehead of a runner from Window Rock high school after she crossed the line and collapsed. A man nearby took offense to my taking photos of the happenings,but I wondered why. My point for the photos is not about showing that she didn't win (she took fifth place overall - pretty impressive in a field of 109 runners!) but rather my intent was to show just how hard these kids push themselves, how hard they fight to do their best. This photo, to me, is not about defeat but about courage and accomplishment. She pushed herself to the absolute limits that her body could handle.