Michigan cross-country runner DQ'd over cuss-filed celebration apologizes

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

A Michigan high school runner, who was disqualified from his second-place finish in the state cross country finals over a profanity-laced celebration as he crossed the finish line, has apologized for his actions and the attention the incident generated.

And in his statement, he kept it PG this time.

"I always want to represent myself, my family, school and community in a positive manner," Garrett Winter wrote on Twitter on Wednesday night. "In this moment, I did not and it put others in a bad position.

"This is something I take full responsibility for."

Parchment's Garrett Winter crosses the finish line with a second-place finish during the Division 2 boys state cross country final. He was later disqualified.

Winter, a senior at Parchment High School in Kalamazoo County, finished second in the Division 2 finals, running a personal-best 15 minutes, 27 seconds.

As Winter crossed the finish line, he let out several curse words, clearly in celebration. But Michigan High School Athletic Association rules prohibit profanity, directed at others or otherwise, and he was disqualified. The MHSAA called it a cut-and-dry violation of the rules. An MHSAA spokesman said his words could be heard from 50 yards away.

Since, the incident has drawn many headlines, both locally and nationally, given the controversial DQ: Winter wasn't swearing at anybody, nor was he using the words in a negative way.

Winter previously said, "my emotions got the best of me" at the end of the race, which took place Saturday at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.

"I want to congratulate all the other runners in the state meet, especially Caleb Jarema, who finished in first place," Winter wrote. "These people should be the ones receiving all of the media attention for their accomplishments. I know that this story has taken away from the attention that they deserve.

"I also want to sincerely apologize for my language at the finish line.

"I don't want these few seconds to define me and I know it will not. I am ready to put this behind me and move forward," Winter continued in his Twitter post. "There is a lot to look forward to in my coming years. I truly want this to be my final statement on this matter. I thank you all for your understanding and support with this wish. The past couple years have been very tough on all of us and I really want to just be a high school senior and enjoy the last months of my high school career."

Jarema, of Pinckney, won the Division 2 championship, finishing the 3.1-mile run in 15:22.22.

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tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tonypaul1984