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Andover runner recognized for sportsmanship

By Star Tribune, 12/15/11, 6:21PM CST


Josh Ripley has been honored again for aiding an injured runner in September.

Josh Ripley

The accolades keep mounting for Andover’s Josh Ripley.

The Andover High School cross-country runner’s efforts to aid an injured competitor during a race in September has been cited as one of the top 10 “responsible sports moments’’ of the year by Liberty Mutual Insurance and the Positive Coaching Alliance.

Ripley, a junior varsity runner, assisted Lakeville South runner Mark Paulauskas, who was writhing in pain after he was accidentally spiked on the ankle by another runner during a Sept. 16 meet. Most runners kept going but Ripley stopped and carried Paulauskas a half mile back to coaches and family members.

The episode was selected from nearly 100 submissions on Facebook. The insurance company said in a press release that nominations were considered for attributes including “spotlighting the positive impact sports can have on children’s lives, exemplifying sportsmanship and responsibility, showcasing leadership and displaying a teaching/learning moment.’’

Ripley’s efforts were recognized by the Anoka-Hennepin School District board and drew considerable media attention nationwide. Last month he was nominated by Sports Illustrated writer Michael Bamberger for the magazine’s sportsman of the year award.

"It was just a natural instinct to stop,’’ Ripley said in an interview with the Star Tribune’s Mary Lynn Smith after the race. “He was in desperate need of help. People are more important to me than my race or my time. When someone's in need, it's my responsibility to step up." 

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