After collapse, runner makes it to state —
NORTHFIELD, Minn. - Windom High School sophomore Gracie Bucher has finally made it to the state cross country meet, two years after her qualifying attempt at the section meet gained international attention.
In 2016, Gracie repeatedly collapsed near the finish line from an undiagnosed case of mononucleosis.
But the moment yielded inspiring sportsmanship when Mountain Lake senior Liana Blomgren stopped to help, carrying Gracie across the finish line at the cost of being disqualified from her last high school race.
On Saturday in Northfield, Gracie finally gets her shot at state, a year after a stomach flu kept her from even participating in the section meet last year.
No one is happier for Gracie than Liana.
“Just kind of being able to overcome all that, I was just super proud of her,” Liana said from Duluth, where she’s now a sophomore at St. Scholastic University.
“Actually, my dad let me know she qualified for state before he let me know that my brother did,” Briana laughed.
Two years ago, Gracie delivered thank-you gifts to Liana.
On Saturday, Liana will attend the state meet to cheer for Gracie and deliver a stuffed koala bear, wearing a name tag that reads “Congrats on Koala-fying for state!”
“It just kind of seemed fitting that I could come down and support her,” Liana said.
Liana and Gracie still talk regularly on Snapchat.
“It's nice to know I have someone I can depend on and talk to and have a lifelong friend,” Gracie said.
Gracie and Liana: supporting each other still.