Is This Fair? Michigan Athlete Disqualified After Words of Excitement At Finish Line
Parchment High School Senior Garret Winter competed in the Division 2 boys race at the MHSAA Cross Country Championships at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2021.
Garret crossed the 5K finish in a personal best of 15:28.1 but his words of excitement took him from second place in the race to disqualified and disappointed.
According to Mlive Garret's outburst of excitement, which included several swear words, violated Article 2 of Rule 4-6 in the National Federation of State High School Association's rulebook governing high school track and cross country, which says,
Unacceptable conduct by a competitor includes, but is not limited to, willful failure to follow the directions of a meet official, using profanity that is not directed at someone or any action which could bring discredit to the individual of his or her school.
I spoke with Adam Koepfer, who ran High School Cross Country at Temperance Bedford High School and went on to be on the Central Michigan University Cross Country team from 2004-2008, and asked him his thoughts on Garret Winter's DQ.
If I had gotten 2nd place at State my senior year, I would have used a lot more profanity than that! It’s something he worked at for years and had the race of his life at the perfect moment. Sports are emotional and we’re all human, just let the kid enjoy an incredible accomplishment!
It's a great idea to hold student-athletes to a high standard both on the field and academically, but at the end of the day we're all human and did anyone get hurt from a few words yelled in excitement?
I really think the MHSAA should look into this and any other rule that can take away a student-athlete's amazing work in the blink of an eye. In my book, Garret Winter finished second that day despite what any official says.