Yes, Olivia Tiner is happy with the accolades. The first place finish at the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B championships. The second place finish at the Class B North regional championship. The 10th place finish at the Class B championships.

But more than anything else, Tiner is just happy to be running cross country again.

A year ago, Tiner’s cross country season was cut short due to shin splints — pain caused along the shin bone from repetitive stress, an injury often associated with runners. She was forced to take over a month off from the injury, but was able to return for the indoor track and field season in the winter and outdoor track and field in the spring.

“They would throb so much that I pretty much couldn’t run on them anymore,” Tiner said. “It wasn’t safe, they thought I was going to fracture them. I have an obsession and a love for running. And I kept wanting to run through them. But my coach finally said ‘OK, you’re going to ruin your entire year if you keep running on them.’ I kind of accepted it and looked at the bigger picture.”

But the ability to return to cross country brought it back full circle. And thanks to her strong postseason this fall, Tiner is the Central Maine Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year. This is the second time Tiner has been awarded the honor. Kahryn Cullenberg of Mt. Blue was also considered.

Tiner kept her goals simple entering the season.

“I just set out just trying to do the best that I can,” Tiner said. “And then KVACs and those races rolled around, and I didn’t even realize, dang, OK, I’m still getting stronger.”

That may have been an understatement. Tiner finished with a time of 21:27.4 — three seconds ahead of second place finisher Abby Williams of Waterville — to win the KVAC B title. She gave the effort of the postseason at the Class B North regionals, besting her KVAC time by over a minute, ending with a time of 20:19.19. It was 12 seconds behind champion Anna Jandreau of Presque Isle, and 30 seconds ahead of third place finisher Katelyn Osborne of Mt. Desert Island.

Tiner was quick to praise her coach, Nickolas Shuckrow, and teammates for helping her get back to her winning ways quickly.

“They’re absolutely amazing, and they’ve helped me get back to where I want to be,” Tiner said. “As for my teammates, I could not make this up, I could not ask for a better group of kids to run with. It’s the positive environment and, really, the great work ethic at Winslow with the cross country team that makes this team so enjoyable. And it allows for all of us to do our best.”

Tiner wrapped up her season with a time of 20:56.19 at the Class B championships. She’ll have plenty of time for improvement throughout the school year. She plans to run both indoor and outdoor track.

But for now, she’ll just enjoy running.

 

Dave Dyer — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer

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