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'That light shines': Lexington cross country team wins championship after teammate falls ill

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Posted at 7:00 PM, Oct 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-18 19:25:05-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — If you've watched your child play sports, you know how thrilling it is to watch them succeed.

Sometimes that success comes in ways that are even bigger than the game itself.

Some Liberty Elementary School runners showed the true meaning of team after one teammate became ill the day before running for a state championship.

"They took it upon themselves to come together and do what I felt was the most unthinkable," said coach Lindsey Roberts. "We really teach a lot of leadership on our team. I feel like our kids are kind of well beyond their years as far as that goes."

You better believe it — these kids have heart.

"They are truly like brothers to each other," Roberts said.

Asa Park started feeling ill just a day before the championship. He was taken to Kentucky Children's Hospital in Lexington.

"Before I go to bed every night, I say a prayer for Asa," said Hudson Kyde, one of Asa's teammates.

"He's really nice and he's never mean to me," said Carter Howard, another one of Asa's teammates. "Or any of his other friends."

"These boys, they're thick," said Leah Park, Asa's mom. "They're very thick. And they have a love for each other that's just — it's unbelievable."

Runners wrote "4 ASA" on their arms. One runner wore Asa's trademark hat in his honor.

"They kind of immediately took on the this is going to be for Asa role and we're going to do this," Roberts said.

"That light is so bright in them and the spirit of what they did was them," Park said. "Nobody had to tell them to do what they did."

It's that light that makes Asa glisten.

"These young kids they don't pay attention to all of that negativity," she said. "That good just comes out of them and that light shines. It's goodness that needs to be seen and heard and felt every day."

Asa's mother says he will recover and is sidelined from running for now, but will be able to participate again in the near future.