Brandon Schutt came to the rescue of his competitor Blake Cerveny when he fell to the ground after his legs cramped up.
At a 3.1-mile track and field race event, Brandon Schutt, a senior at Bellevue East High School in Virginia, spotted his opponent from Omaha Burke High School, Blake Cerveny, fall to the ground after his legs cramped up. With less than 100 meters to go, Schutt knew he would qualify if he just kept going. However, giving up his shot at qualifying for the upcoming state meet, he ran up to his competitor to give him a helping hand. Arm in arm, the two runners crossed the finish line. In fact, Schutt made sure Cerveny crossed the finish line first, giving him a faster time, Good News Network reports.
Proud of Brandon Schutt and Blake Cerveny for their piece on NBC Nightly News tonight. NBC did a wonderful job telling about the boys, Brandon's amazing gesture, and our great sport. https://t.co/IOexrMhgIh@BellevueEastXC @burke_XCTF @OmahaPubSchool @BellevueSchools— Prep Running Nerd (@PrepRunningNerd) October 25, 2021
Jay Slagle, a citizen journalist, was the first person to break the story on his blog Prep Running Nerd. "I saw Blake zig-zagging with 100 meters to go, a classic sign that his legs were about to give," he shared. "As I kept my camera trained on him, I saw Brandon come into the picture. I began whispering, ‘No, no, no,’ to myself, because at the time, I didn’t know the Good Samaritan rule had been changed." The Good Samaritan rule refers to runners who aid their competitors. This year, rules were changed so that the Good Samaritan would not be penalized.
In a moment transcending sports, Blake Cerveny @burke_XCTF collapsed at A-Districts w/ 75 meters to go. No hope of finishing. Brandon Schutt @BellevueEastXC gave up 3 spots to stop, pull him up, and support him to the finish. Under new rule, Schutt is not DQ’d. Incredible act. pic.twitter.com/lH1RgLNbZu— Prep Running Nerd (@PrepRunningNerd) October 14, 2021
He continued, "This is the first time I’ve ever seen an athlete stop his race and work so hard to help his fellow competitor across the finish line. Perhaps more impressively, Brandon had virtually no time to think about whether he should help or not; he reacted so quickly that he did it instinctively." Perhaps Schutt empathized with his fellow runner; three weeks prior, he himself had been unable to complete a race. The runner stated in an interview with KETV-7, "I felt awful about not finishing. I felt like I was letting my teammates down and I was letting myself down—so ultimately I just made the call [to help him]."
From this to that!— Waverle Monroe KETV (@WaverleKETV) October 15, 2021
Burke runner Blake Cerveny and Bellevue East runner Brandon Schutt met today after a very memorable race at Cross Country Districts yesterday.
RUN DON'T WALK to @KETV tonight at 10 for more! 😊 pic.twitter.com/eS0kPjE8Hz
After Schutt helped him cross the finish line, Cerveny was taken to the medical tent where he rejoined his teammates for a post-race cool-down. Thankfully, the runner was not seriously injured. He had only been suffering from extreme muscle fatigue. He was therefore soon able to get up and leave the tent by himself. Meanwhile, what was an otherwise uncredited act of kindness quickly went viral online after a local news outlet picked up the story. The news outlet even arranged a reunion for the runners. Although they had competed in five races together, they were absolute strangers to each other.
Grateful to help @NBCNightlyNews by providing footage of Blake Cerveny and Brandon Schutt's moment as they finished the district cross country race together. Once their story is posted here I'll retweet. Until then, here's the video I captured. https://t.co/8MgxCGtzPd— Robert Murphy (@RamHatter) October 24, 2021
Dozens expressed how proud they were of Schutt, most notably his head track coach, Rachel Carraher. "Brandon is an excellent person," she affirmed. "He is really kind and a great leader on the team." You can watch his reunion with Cerveny here.