GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — Blake Eaton was looking to defend a pair of Class 2A state titles on Saturday in the 100-meter and 200-meter wheelchair division at St. Michael-Albertville High School. He blew his tire midway through his first race, the 100-meter, but was able to finish in first, riding on his rim to the finish line.
"I didn't even realize that until after the race," said Blake Eaton.
There was a slight problem because the Duluth Denfeld High School junior didn't have another tire for his wheelchair.
"I kind of almost gave up on it and then I hear 'we're only 10 or 15 minutes away and we actually have wheels,'" said Eaton.
That's when he got a little help from the Buffalo High School track team, their assistant track coach drove from the state meet back to Buffalo to pick up spare tires.
"I drove 14 minutes and went into the storage room real quickly and found one wheel in a box and three other wheels. I brought them all," said Rachel Busch, Buffalo High School assistant boys and girls track coach.
"It was like watching NASCAR. Everyone was moving so fast and stood back. I prayed that they got it done on time," said Busch.
Eaton got to the starting line just in time and ended up winning the 2A 200-meter state title using his competitor Buffalo senior Macario Polomares' tire.
"The stars aligned that we were at St. Michael-Albertville High School and not at Hamline University. Rachel had the van. We were able to utilize the van and grab those parts and get it on," said Scott Palmer, Buffalo High School boys and girls track coach.
"It just means a lot to show that hey we care about each other and we're all one big family," said Eaton.