Cross country teams support Harms in cancer battle

Jon Koester tightens his orange laces he and his fellow cross country teammates wore at the end of the season in honor of Derricklee Harms. Photo provided

According to head cross country coach Ben Demuth, when word got out about Derricklee Harms facing a battle with cancer, both he and his mom wanted to keep things quiet and let out any news about him on their terms. The rest of the team eventually found out what was going on, and so Demuth decided to take three of them to Iowa City to visit Harms.

“On the way back, they decided they wanted to wear orange at their remaining meets to show support for him,” said Demuth. “We decided to go with orange shoelaces.”

Shonda Schafer went looking for the laces, but the team soon found out they would not have them in time for the qualifying meet at Dike. Shonda brought the next best thing. They used orange ripcord and made laces for both the girls and boys teams at the qualifier run.

Josh Graham then took it a step farther, making a bracelet out of the same material that the guys could wear. Jon Koester would end up representing the team in Fort Dodge, and wanted to take the orange lace tribute with him there. When he learned he would also qualify for the Senior All-Star meet in Ankeny, he ran there still sporting the look.

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