The gestures were both large and small.
Some wore Duke blue ribbons and others wrote "Sally" somewhere on their bodies or shoes.
Then there were the pink socks. They were everywhere and it would have made Sally Meyerhoff, 27, smile as young athletes mimicked her trademark as a silent remembrance of her style.
The laughing and weeping, however, weren't as silent as the fateful timing of the track meet between Mountain Pointe and Tempe Marcos de Niza took place Wednesday. It came a day after news of Meyerhoff's death. She was killed while riding her bike, in training as always, when she was hit by a pick-up truck in Maricopa.
Meyerhoff's amazing high school career started at Marcos and ended at Mountain Pointe. The date of the track meet couldn't have come at a better time to help, even a little, start the healing process.
"I am so grateful that we had that meet on that day," Mountain Pointe athletic director Ian Moses said. "It helped all of us cope with the loss a little easier. I have never been more tired than Wednesday night because of all of the emotions."
Meyerhoff, a two-time state champion and All-American at Duke, coached cross country at Mountain Pointe four seasons ago, having helped some of this year's senior long-distance runners, before she left for Oregon to begin her career as a professional runner.
Her professional journey had some ups and downs, but a new training regimen had recharged her outlook, and her legs, as she won a national event in Hawaii and followed it up by winning the PF Chang Rock ‘N' Roll Marathon in January.
Meyerhoff was considered one of the nation's top marathoners and had qualified for the 2012 London Olympic Trials.
Some life lessons, and how short it is, were taught to a young age group during that track meet. It might take some time to sink in and if it doesn't there is a post by Meyerhoff on Facebook that quotes Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, Inc., that can help as well.
"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."
Moses said all of the little things - from a phone call from Sara Gorton Slattery (Meyerhoff teammate and state champion) to the presence of Marcos coach Anna Rodriguez, a former high school teammate, to Laurie Slemmer bringing a scrapbook of Meyerhoff's high school days - added up to make a difficult situation better.
"I hope she knew how many people loved and respected her," he said. "It was evident that was the case and those are two things all of us could ever want in our time here on earth."
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