A Michigan high-school senior ran the race of his life, finished second, but then was later disqualified for something he said.
According to MLive.com, Parchment (Michigan) High School senior Garrett Winter finished a 5K race at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan in 15:27.89, breaking his previous personal best by almost 22 seconds. But as he crossed the finish line to earn an all-state medal, he shouted five words, including two expletives, and was disqualified for the use of profanity.
The comments violated Article 2 of Rule 4-6 in the National Federation of State High School Associations rulebook, per MLive.com, which governs track and field and cross country competitions.
“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,” the rule states, according to MLive.com and carries a penalty of disqualification.
Parchment appealed the ruling, but it was upheld.
“The rule is there; that could have been written for that situation,” Michigan High School Athletic Association assistant director Cody Inglis said, according to MLive.com. “I mean, it’s horrible and unfortunate, but the reality is that the official called the rule, and the process was followed to appeal the rule, and it’s a horrible thing. Nobody takes any pride or joy in this, but the fact is that the rule was enforced.”
In a statement released through the school, Winter said the expletives were not directed at anyone and were a product of his excitement with his performance.
“As I made my final kick and the finish line approached, I was overcome with emotions as to what I was achieving,” he said. “All the memories of my career came flooding into my mind. As I crossed the finish line, my emotions got the best of me. I swore in excitement of what I had just accomplished. I swore when I finished the race and saw the time. I did not swear at anyone. I swore out of jubilation with pure adrenaline and emotion.”