Going the distance: 4-year-old Zionsville girl is cross country team’s most enthusiastic supporter

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ZIONSVILLE, Ind. – A heartwarming moment was caught on camera, and now it’s going viral locally on social media.

The Zionsville Community High School cross country team was running recently when they heard a knock at a nearby window. When one of the athletes looked up, she saw a toddler waving.

“We waved to her,” recalled head coach Suzanne Rigg. “The next minute we knew, she was outside cheering us on.”

Rigg and the girls were running up and down a hill in town when they spotted 4-year old Ellie. Ellie had been in her room for afternoon “quiet time.”

“I heard her banging on the window upstairs,” said Elllie’s mom, Melissa Goosen.

Goosen said Ellie yelled downstairs in excitement.

“Momma! The girls are running, and they waved at me!”

Even though Goosen had things to do, she figured this was a good opportunity for her daughter.

“I feel really strongly that representation matters,” Goosen explained. “This is a chance to take her outside and let her see what strong girls can do.”

Once outside, Ellie sat on the curb and cheered on the team.

“She was saying, ‘Go girls! Go girls!’” senior Katelynn Wasson remembered.

Eventually, Ellie couldn’t sit still any longer. She had to join in. She began running and back and forth on the sidewalk.

“She was just so excited,” Wasson said.

“It was so sweet,” added senior Anna Settle.

Coach Rigg noticed Ellie’s energy.

“You can never recruit too early,” she joked. “I asked her to come and join us.”

Ellie got to run the last lap with the cross-country team. Goosen took a photo of the little girl running and posted it on social media. It sparked a lot of interest and quickly went viral in Zionsville.

“I posted it in the moms group hoping some of the parents of the girls might see it. I wanted them to know what their daughters had done for my daughter,” Goosen told Angela Brauer. “I was stunned at the way it blew up.”

People on Facebook started commenting about how special the simple gesture was.

“I took her outside so she could see what strong girls can do,” Goosen said. “What I didn’t know [was] that their greatest strength had nothing to do with running.”

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