They began as competitors, but what happened between two runners in a cross country meet on Saturday showed what sports can be all about.
Kayla Samuel and Maryn Valliancourt were running in the meet in Manchester. Near the end of the three-mile race, Valliancourt tripped and twisted her ankle. That's when Samuel caught up to her and stopped to help.
"I linked my arm into her arm without her permission," said Samuel, a junior at Achievement First Amistad High School in New Haven. "[So] I run with her to the finish line. When I saw her, I sort of felt like she shouldn't have to go through that by herself."
Valliancourt, a junior at Sacred Heart High School in Waterbury, said she wanted to finish the race. She did so with Samuel's help.
"She told me not to give up and to keep going and she wasn't going to leave me. I just thought It was really nice," Valliancourt said.
Samuel was even nice enough to let Valliancourt cross the finish line ahead of her.
"I didn't really deserve that because she could have easily just went by me," she said.
Valliancourt's mother said it was a moving moment.
"She had a guardian angel that day watching out for her," Kristen Valliancourt said.
Maryn Valliancourt and her mother went to the Amistad High School Wednesday to thank Samuel for her kind act.
"You hear so many bad stories about kids and there's such good ones out there that didn't run by her and pushed her to finish first," Samuel said.
Valliancourt's grandmother said they are proud of her selfless act.
"We teach her to look out for others and not to be selfish or anything like that," said Willie Samuel.
Both families hope the girls continue to grow from their shared experience during the race.
"Hopefully she'll pay it forward and do the same thing from this point on. I'm sure she will," Kristen Valliancourt said.