Cross country team wins State Championship in honor of one of their own

Cross country team wins State Championship in honor of one of their own
Published: Oct. 19, 2022 at 9:47 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Last Saturday, the Liberty Elementary School Cross Country team did something many weren’t sure they could this year.

“We won the State Championship. Let’s go,” cheered runner Colton Roberts.

And they did so less than 24 hours after learning their number two runner would have to sit out this race.

“They really did something that we thought was unthinkable whenever Asa went out,” said Head Coach Lindsay Roberts.

Coach Lindsey Roberts found out Asa Park wasn’t feeling well Friday afternoon. By that evening, he learned Park was severely sick, and being admitted to the ICU.

“They were down, but they didn’t let it keep them down long. They used that as their rallying cry.”

Park had a ruptured spleen. He wouldn’t be racing with his team Saturday. And he won’t run again for several weeks, at least.

“Asa and my son Colton have been running together since they were in kindergarten,” Roberts said.

So naturally learning he’d have to sit out the big race, and his last with this team before they age out, was hard on him and the rest of the guys.

“But it did pick up his spirits to know they did that for him. That he was there in spirit. They had messages written on their hands, ‘4 Asa.’”

It’s a team that’s been training together for years.

“Including Asa over here, he was elected team captain. He’d been leading the team for the whole season,” said Colton Roberts.

And even though the season is over, he’s been at every club practice since leaving the ICU.

“Whenever you’re together for a long time, you become like a family. So when you’re missing one of you’re own, you’re really missing a family member.”

And when their brother was down, this family took home the trophy for him.

This is the team’s ninth State Championship win.