Gatorade Michigan Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year - Kirsten Olling

We got a chance to talk to Gatorade Michigan Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year, Breckenridge senior, Kirsten Olling, after a fantastic cross country season where she became just the second person to win four cross country titles.


Read the Official Press Release Here


Michigan MileSplit: You are only the second person in Michigan history to ever win four cross country titles. How does it feel being in such an elite group?

Kirsten Olling: It is amazing to be a part of this elite group of girls. I always wanted to win four times since my first state championship and back then I wasn't sure that i could do it. But whenver you accomplish a long term goal like that it shows you that all your hard work and dedication has paid off and being in this elite group makes me want to just run faster and faster and never stop. 

MI MileSplit: As I watched you race at teh state meet, it made me wish I could see you run against some of the other divisions? Do you ever wish you had had the chance to race some of the "bigger" schools?

KO: Yea. I would love to race against the Division 1 and Division 2 girls. Throughout cross country and track season I always look up their times and compare them to mine. If I see that they have a faster time then I make that my goal for the next meet. Even though I don't normally race against them I like to race their times. I also got the chance to race against them at Footlocker Nationals and that was a really great experience and it was really exciting.

MI MileSplit: I haven't heard much about where you are looking to go to school next year. Can you fill me in on any of your top choices?

KO: I am really excited about choosing a college for next year, but I still haven't decided. I have one more visit left and after that visit I will know my decision.

MI MileSplit: What are some of your goals for this outdoor season? What about outdoor?

KO: This indoor season I am just having fun. I love the thrill of a great race, but I don't want to brun myself out for indoor. I'm just running a couple of races to have a little thrill. This outdoor season I hope to four-peat my 3200 and get the state record in that too! I'm also hoping to work a lot on footspeed to speed my 1600 up a bit. I'm just hoping for an unforgettable final high school running season.

MI MileSplit: How/when did you get involved running cross country?

KO: I started running when I was in sixth grade. I was a gymnast all throughout elementary school and one day I had a freak accident and broke my arm. I was too worried that another freak accident would happen again, so I wanted to try something new. My dad was a successful runner for Breckenridge too, and he brought out all of his medals and told me about the sport. Honestly, I never knew running was a sport until that moment and it intrigued me. Ever since then running has been a passion of mine and it makes me believe that everything does happen for a reason.

MI MileSplit: Who has been the most influential person to your running career?

KO: Throughout my career I have had many influences it is really hard to choose just one. I always use my dad's times as dream goals to one day achieve, and my coaches and the team's parents are really supportive and always help me set goals, the middle schoolers are the future of our program and just their youthful love for the sport makes me want to love the sport more than I already do, and then the boys I ran with last year pushed me everyday for six years and having them push me everyday made me the runner I am today.

MI MileSplit: How did you enjoy running in San Diego? Did it make you wish you got to run in a warmer place more often?

KO: I loved San Diego, but I was glad to come back to Michigan. The warm weather was nice but in those warm places I would never have the runs that break out into a snowball war or the moments when someone slips on the ice. Those are some of my favorite moments every year, plus the Michigan weather gives me a challenge every time I run and it makes it a lot more exciting.


Quick Q's

MI MileSplit: Facebook or Twitter (or Instagram)?

KO: Twitter

MI MileSplit: Winter or summer?

KO: Summer

MI MileSplit: Favorite place for breakfast?

KO: Cracker Barrel

MI MileSplit: Movie you just saw or want to see?

KO: Frozen