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Showing their medal

Sometimes sportsmanship stories can get a little overblown. Perfect example: the nation's slightly excessive fascination last month with the story of the Western Oregon University softball player who was carried around the basepaths by her opponents.

But this one -- also out of the Pacific Northwest -- will be tough to beat, mostly because it involves a different kind of personal sacrifice: a state championship medal.

According to the story, Bellarmine (Wash.) Prep senior Nicole Cochran had just won the 3,200-meter Class 4A state title, setting a personal best (10:36) in the process. Soon after, though, she was disqualified for taking three consecutive steps along the inside line of the track. Andrea Nelson of Shadle Park High School in Spokane, who finished four seconds back, was declared the champion.

Then (from ESPN.com)...

The awards ceremony took place, then Nelson got off the awards stand, walked over to Cochran, removed the first-place medal from around her neck and draped it over Cochran's.

"It's your medal," Nelson said to her, the Tri-City Herald reported. "You're the state champion."

The rest of the top eight finishers then held an impromptu ceremony of their own. Exchanging their medals -- Nelson received the second-place medal, Sarah Lord of Redmond High School took the third-place medal, and so on.

"That's not how you win state," Nelson said. "She totally deserves it. She crushed everybody."

--Patrick Dorsey (e-mail)