SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash --- Freeman High School’s Cross-Country team decided not to run Saturday, except for one student.
There was an invitational cross-country meet in Coeur d’Alene Saturday. Many teams from across the Inland Northwest competed, but only one person from Freeman competed.
“We had given our cross-country kids the day off today, because the last two days have been extremely hard and the team really needs this time to grieve and to have family time and so we're honoring that because at this point it's not about a race. It's about these kids and healing,” said Freeman High’s head cross-country coach, Robyn Doloughan.
Without Freeman students participating, the team would be automatically disqualified.
Nolan Doloughan decided to run, he wanted to run for Freeman.
“It’s hard to rationalize something that’s irrational. So, I just talked to my family, talked it out… Didn’t focus on the what if’s,” said Nolan.
To Nolan, Robyn is more than a coach, she is his mom also.
“I just thought it would be good for my family to get out and do something. Like, for my mom, just help everyone out,” said Nolan.
“He just said mom I have to do this… The football game went on, and I know that these parents after the last two hectic days need time with their kids but I need to be there and someone needs to be there to represent this community and this team," said Robyn.
Drawing strength from the support around him, he ran strong…Freeman strong.
“It's been devastating for all of us in the community, but especially to have to experience that and working through processing is a really big thing so I just wanted to whatever I could to help him know that we love him and support him," said Freeman High alumni and family friend, Elizabeth Kosanke.
It was with that support that the Doloughan family and the Freeman High School community made it through such a heartbreaking tragedy.
“Everytime one of my track or cross country kids came to that track... It was like I've never been happier in my life. But that doesn't mean that we're not saddened about Sam and the girls that were injured. Sams sister used to run track for us and we're very saddened for the loss of him," said Robyn.
Nolan finished the race alongside friends from other teams. They all were echoing a common thought too. That today was not about the race, not about their times but about representing Freeman.
Many of the teams ended their cheers Saturday by yelling out “Freeman Strong.”