Pass the leftovers, turkey or otherwise …

Jess Partlow of the University of New England didn’t think twice. A rival runner was down, her face in the dirt of the trail. Partlow stopped. Never mind that she was about a mile into the women’s ECAC Division III cross country championships at Colt State Park in Bristol, R.I.

Never mind that Partlow is the team captain and typically the No. 2 or No. 3 runner for a competitive team. She didn’t ponder the ramifications of her actions on a race. She thought of a human life.

Partlow stopped. Soon afterward, teammate Lindsay Forrette stopped, too.

“I was shocked,” said Partlow. “I almost stumbled over her. I turned her over and kept asking, ‘are you OK?’ “

The runner from Salve Regina University was not. In fact, she was, in Partlow’s words, nonresponsive. “I checked to make sure nothing was blocking her (breathing) and tried to find a course worker (to summon medical support). Lindsay stayed with her.”

Partlow, by the way, is a medical biology major and an EMT in her spare time. She didn’t use her EMT skills per se. She did know what to do. And yes, the runner survived.

Partlow, from the Concord, N.H. area, can’t guess how much time elapsed before she and Forrette resumed the race. “A couple of minutes, I think. Less than five minutes.” Partlow finished 162nd and was UNE’s sixth runner. Forrette finished 176th. UNE placed 10th as a team.

According to Rudy Keeling, the ECAC commissioner, other runners had passed the distressed Salve Regina competitor.

“You should be extremely proud of your student-athletes for their selfless act of sportsmanship and for putting the well-being of a fellow competitor above themselves,” wrote Keeling to UNE Athletic Director Kimberly Allen.

“I didn’t think it was a sacrifice,” Partlow said. Her action wasn’t a sacrifice. It was simply the right thing to do.

IT’S DIFFICULT to exaggerate the emptiness Luke Duncklee felt over Thanksgiving. The announcement listing the 11 semifinalists for the Fitzpatrick Award did not include his name.

Know that his ego didn’t need stroking or that he didn’t need something more to add to his college applications.

He was the quarterback for a Cony football team that failed to make the playoffs. He gained 1,000 yards passing and another 1,000 rushing, though he wasn’t blessed with all-star talent around him. His yards were earned against defenses that didn’t have to guess often.

Then he learned the Fitzpatrick committee hadn’t received his nomination, which was mailed on time but didn’t arrive in time for its meeting. He was added Friday to the list of semifinalists.

“It was a strange feeling,” Duncklee said. “I went from a down to an up. I’m happy to be included. It’s definitely an honor.”

He understands honor. He recently finished his congressional interviews as part of his application process to the U.S. Military Academy. He attended the Air Force-Army game as a football recruit, getting a field pass and a nice seat.

Certainly it’s not for him to say he’s a better candidate for the Fitzpatrick Award than any of the other 11. His disadvantage is his season ended earlier than most when Cony failed to qualify for the playoffs. Many of the other candidates made the best of their auditions in the postseason.

If the Fitzy should go to Maine’s most valuable player, Duncklee could take a back seat in voters’ minds. If the Fitzy goes to the best player, voters face a tougher task. …

NEITHER CHEVERUS nor Mountain Valley has anything to prove by playing in a so-called Maine Super Bowl. Both teams are champions, as is Yarmouth. All three earned the reward of walking off the football field as winners. Finding an uber-champion isn’t worth the cost. …

NICE TO SEE the oft-injured Rachele Burns on the basketball court for Maine this weekend. If only her determination was contagious.

BOB RUSSO, the head man and inspiration behind the Portland Boxing Club, has been named executive director of New England Golden Gloves, which can only be good news.

Staff Writer Steve Solloway can be contacted at 791-6412 or at:

[email protected]