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IHSAA Names Co-Champions in Class 1A 3,200-Meter Race After Bell Lap Error

IOWA -- The Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) has reversed its initial decision and will award three post-meet medals to boys in last Thursday’s Class 1A 3,200-meter race that was shortened to seven laps due to a bell lap error on the track.

George-Little Rock’s Joe Anderson will receive a first-place gold medal, Nodaway Valley’s Joshua Baudler a runner-up silver, and Dawson Hatch of Sioux Central, Sioux Rapids will receive a medal for eighth place.

Gehlen's Will Roder will keep his gold medal. The results and team scoring that the meet ended with will not change.

The 3,200-meter run is eight laps, but after the sixth lap, an official incorrectly rung the bell, signaling the final lap. Several runners, including Roder, who was leading the race, falsely believed they were on the final lap. Roder kicked, followed by Anderson, but as Roder crossed the finish line, Anderson kept going because he knew the bell rang early. Roder decided to keep running but stopped and then went again, getting passed in the process.

After the confusion, the IHSAA decided that since most runners stopped after seven laps, the race became 2,800 meters, not 3,200 meters. Roder was declared the winner, but he will now share the title with Anderson.

"We know these awards cannot make up for the frustration these competitors and their supporters felt last week, but hope they can serve as a positive reminder of their accomplishments," said the IHSAA in a statement.

After the race, Anderson was praised for his response to how the results were handled.

“Being stripped of my first ever State Title hurts a lot … But my identity does not come from the trophies that I have won or the ones that have been taken away. It comes from who I am in Christ … I ran the absolute hardest I could. I am proud of that race. At the end of the day it's not about how we respond when life goes great, it's about how we respond when bad things happen to us. Congrats to Will, he ran a great race,” said Anderson in a statement.

In this week's Murphy's Law commentary on SoundOff, Channel 13's Keith Murphy addressed the controversy.

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