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High school cross country runner advances to state after losing house in wildfire

Yahoo! Sports logo Yahoo! Sports 11/14/2018 Chris Cwik
a group of people playing football on a field: A high school cross country runner got another chance to run his final race. (AP Photo) © Provided by Oath Inc. A high school cross country runner got another chance to run his final race. (AP Photo)

A high school in California rallied around a senior cross country runner after the wildfires caused him to miss an important race. On the morning of Paradise High’s section championship meet, Gabe Price got a call from his father telling him to get all the important things out of his house as the wildfire approached.

Price was able to grab his items and evacuate the house. A few house later, the Price family lost their house in the wildfire.

Price’s entire family was safe, though he and his father were concerned for a few hours. They could not get in touch with Price’s mother and sister for a portion of that day. Price told the Chino Enterprise-Record that he was concerned for their safety.

“I need my family to come out of this alive,” Price thought. “And of course, all of this was happening while I was supposed to be racing.”

Everyone was OK in the end, but Price had missed his race. He assumed his cross country career at Paradise High was over.

It wasn’t. Paradise High rallied around Price. Athletic director Anne Stearns and Price’s coach Thomas Harris got in touch with conference officials who allowed Price to run on the same course a few days later. If Price ran the course under the qualifying time, he could still go to the state championship.

Since it was an unplanned event, Price expected to be the only person at the course. But, once again, the school came through. Price’s dad got in touch with other families from the cross country team. When Price showed up, he had supporters cheering him on, according to the Enterprise-Record.

“I thought it was just going to be me duking it out, trying to get a time,” Gabe Price said. “When we rolled up and the whole Chico team was standing there, I told my dad, ‘That’s a lot of people. What’s going on dad?’ … It was pretty amazing. It was just a moment, probably one that I’m not going to forget.”

With his friends and family cheering him on, Price managed to come in 30 seconds under the qualifying time. He made it to the state championship.

Price and his team will have a few weeks to train for the event. The state championship will take place Nov. 24.

After he thought his high school cross country career was finished, Price will be able to run one more time for Paradise High.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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