Kirsten Olling from Breckenridge Snubbed for Ms. Michigan Cross Country
MT. PLEASANT - As I sat at yet another MITCA coaching clinic, I began to wonder how our coaches organization would handle the greatest award a cross country senior can acheive. Every year the Mr. & Ms. Michigan Cross Country award is given out to the top performing senior at the state meet, depending only on time. So placing first means nothing, if a senior in another race finishes 2nd with a faster time. There is absolutely no opinion or voting that goes in to giving the award.
This year, was a particularly difficult situation, after Kirsten Olling won the Division 4 girls race for her fourth year in a row! Olling became only the second person to ever acheive the four-peat (Katie Boyles, Rochester Adams, 1997-2000). The senior from Breckenridge ran 17:44.9, winning her race by 57 seconds.
Lauren Brasure from Rockford was named Ms. Michigan Cross Country after running 17:40.8, but finishing second behind junior, Audrey Belf. The point of this article is not to say Lauren did not deserve the award, she had a fantastic year being up-front of every race she ran for the Rams. The point of this article is to question whether this award is actually intended to be given to an athlete from another division, besides Division 1 (schools with highest enrollment). By nature of the divisions, Division 1 will be the most competitve race by time in nine out of ten years.
The biggest question to ask is why can subjectivity not come into play when naming this award? When MITCA presents their "Coach of the Year" awards, they are voted on by the other coaches at the clinic. Why not do exactly the same thing for Mr. & Ms. Michigan Cross Country? Imagine if the Heisman Trophy was given to the college football player that scored the most touchdowns, no matter what.
I hope there are no hard-feelings for Kirsten; after an absolutely tremendous season she left everyone close to the sport amazed to see another four-peat. For whatever it is worth, you are Michigan MileSplit's Ms. Cross Country for your outstanding work this season, and the other three before that!