Team Supports Foster Youth to Finish Line

by Crystal Gutierrez, KRQE Reporter Originally published 24 Oct 2011 on KRQE.com

10.24.2011

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - They had already finished their race but a group of New Mexico high school runners laced up for another when their newest team member needed them.

Monica Wilson, a special needs student, joined the team for the first time this year.

Her first race turned the team into a family.

Five days a week, Monica laces up her shoes for cross country practice.

During the day the high school junior is studying hard in special education classes but out here she is just another runner, a runner with a dream.

”My coach told me to be in the track and then I joined some friends in track,” Monica said.

That team of friends would help her dream become a reality.

“Well it brought tears to my eyes, that first meet that Monica ran in,” her foster parent Nancy Coburn said.

Before Monica’s first race last month her coach had some concerns. Instead of running on a normal track, the runners had to race through a path cleared out in the sandy hills of the desert. Because of that, Monica's coach wanted to make sure she didn't veer of course.

Elisa Woody and a few other team members were asked to lace up for a second race that morning and run alongside Monica for guidance and motivation.

They said yes and they weren't they only ones.

“Here she comes over the hill and she has a big group of people that I know this is not their race,” Coburn said.

A swarm of black Volcano Vista jersey's splashed against the dry desert.

Exhausted varsity, junior varsity and even c-team members, who just finished that race, kept pace with Monica.

It took Monica almost an hour to run her three mile race. As she inched closer to the finish line her team of motivators stepped aside and left the last 100 meters for Monica.

“Monica came in last place in that race but she would have thought she came in first place from the big smile on her face,” Coburn said.

Monica couldn’t be any happier.

“I beat my time the first race,” Monica said.

The first race was just the beginning.

The team has made sure at least one team member, or the coach, runs with Monica during every meet.