TULSA, Okla. — Oklahoma's cross country family is still feeling the pain.
The students from Moore High School are in the thoughts of runners in Tulsa. They are reminded of the dangers they face every day while doing what they love.
Sometimes, busy streets are where the student-athletes get their practice in. The risk is always in the back of their minds.
Ryan Smith, head coach of the boys’ cross country team at Bishop Kelly High School, says, "It's one of those things that's kind of a worst fear, as a coach when you're in charge of 40+ kids."
It gets real when someone is hit.
Joe Kelly, a senior and cross country team member at Cascia Hall Preparatory School, says, “I wouldn't expect something like that to happen. I don't think any runner does."
Monday afternoon, there was a hit-and-run crash near Moore High School, on the 300 block of North Eastern Avenue.
Adam Stoermer, head cross country coach of Cascia Hall Preparatory School, says, "Along that same stretch of road is where we have the kids warm-up when we have the state meet. It was a shock to hear that happened."
Smith says, "We knew some of those Moore runners. It was hard."
Sophie Pazzo, another cross country team member and senior at Cascia says, "You never really think that could happen to you and your teammates just on a recovery run. I think it shocked everyone on my team."
The incident is a sad and scary reminder for them to stay on their toes with every run.
Pazzo says, "A lot of times, drivers aren't thinking how there could be kids on the streets."
Smith has the same experience. "We always cross at crosswalks. There are times where drivers aren't paying attention."
There are a few pieces of advice they run by: wear only one earbud, run in groups against traffic, and wear bright colors.
Coach Stoermer also asks his team not to run on sidewalks. Sometimes, there is no room to bail, should a car ever come at them.
Pazzo says, "It is a shocking experience and extremely sad, but I love running. I hope this makes runners more aware, to pay attention to their surroundings. I hope people continue to stay safe."
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