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Runners go distance for the team

Korey Austin and Dontavis Williams have a lot in common with each other. But perhaps the biggest thing they share is their unselfishness as individuals.

Austin, a senior, and Williams, a sophomore, are runners on the cross country team at Thomson High School.

Recently their coach Miranda Murphey was confronted with a huge dilemma: Which one of them would she run in the Region 3-AAA cross country meet at Washington County High School in Sandersville.

"I knew both of them had certain attributes that could be useful to the team, so I just decided to let them choose between themselves which one would fill the seventh spot," said coach Murphey. "Between them I knew they would make the best decision -- not for themselves, but for the team.

Sure enough, they did. And it didn't take long. In fact, it took less than a minute.

At the same time, both of them were willing to give up their spot to the other.

"I let him take my spot," said Austin. "It was a mutual decision. We both have about the same skill level, but I thought he might do a better job running as far as being quicker."

Before the decision was made, Williams felt Austin should claim the spot.

"I really wanted Korey to run because it's his senior year," said Williams. "I knew he wouldn't get another chance to run in high school."

Coach Murphey said she had never seen two athletes made such a sacrifice for their team before.

"It was such an honorable thing that they did," she said. "I'll never forget it."

After graduation, Austin plans to attend Valdosta State University where he hopes to be a walk-on on the baseball team.

He said he's looking forward to his senior year in baseball at Thomson High.

Williams, meanwhile, plans to run cross country at the University of Tennessee or Miami after he graduates.

Web posted on Thursday, November 12, 2009

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