Grapevine Faith’s Petyon Brandenburg finished third at the Class 4A TAPPS state cross country meet recently.
Minus one crucial piece of equipment.
The freshman was just about a half mile into the two-mile course at Airport Park in Waco when the muddy and boggy course claimed Brandenburg’s left shoe.
You don’t place third in the state by stopping to recover your shoe.
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“It was really muddy and it just got stuck in a ditch,” Brandenburg said. “There was a low spot that was muddy with water to my shin, and my foot came out and my shoe wasn’t on it.”
The lost shoe might have been a factor in her placing, as Brandenburg was just four or five seconds behind the second-place finisher.
“I did take a moment to yell at my dad, ‘I lost my shoe’ but I just kept going,” she said.
The remnant sock took a beating, suffering holes as steps over rocks and other course debris was the only choice Brandenburg had.
The one-shoe run created an irregular gait and stride, creating a bit of off-balance running which eventually caused pain in her legs.
“I now tie my shoes with three knots, but it was more that the shoe was loose, not the laces,” she said.
Maybe it was best she came away with a medal, as the shoes were brand new and her parents weren’t excited to learn the new shoes were a casualty, but they were certainly willing to take the trade-off.
No, Brandenburg didn’t go back to the scene of the crime to try and recover the sunken shoe. There was another race immediately following on the course and she wasn’t certain exactly where it was.
It led to a bit of peculiarity during the medal ceremony, as Brandenburg continued the one-shoe style.
Brandenburg was part of the Faith contingent which also included Lexi Zuck, Julie Hjelm, Rachel Asselta and Jacqueline Doke. They placed 15th in the state as a team.
As a freshman, Brandenburg is in her first year of running cross country and she said she’s actually surprised herself. Her personal best time is 12:04 for the two-mile.
Brandenburg is excited about her new-found sport and is looking forward to the track season in the spring.
She is also competing in soccer now that cross country has concluded.
And you know those cleats are fitting snuggly with triple-knotted laces.