Reluctant athlete to All-American

Tina Muir takes place among FSU greats

What once-reluctant adolescent runner became an All-American athlete? What may sound like a Hollywood script has in fact happened at Ferris State University.

When Tina Muir began running competitively in middle school, she wasn’t fond of the sport. However, encouraged by friends and coaches, she stuck with it.

Tina, who is entering her senior season, is widely regarded as one of FSU’s all-time great cross country and track runners. The St. Albans, United Kingdom, native acknowledged the distinction as a “great honor” but only after letting out a modest chuckle.

“I don’t feel like I’ve achieved all I can yet,” Tina said. “I have a lot more to give.”

While in high school, Tina’s coach put her in contact with a former assistant coach under former FSU head coach Jeff Kavalunas. Having long wanted to attend college in the United States but unable to support her ambition financially, she made the decision to become a Bulldog student-athlete.

“As cheesy as it sounds, it [the United States] is the land of opportunity,” Tina said. “It’s great to be surrounded by people who are as passionate about the sport as I am.”

In her collegiate career thus far; Tina is a three-time cross country All-American, GLIAC Commissioner’s Award winner and two-time Dean Davenport “Bulldog of the Year” award recipient.

Last spring, she also earned All-American honors in two events at the 2011 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships. In the first day of action, Tina placed fifth overall in the 10,000 meters with a school-record time of 34:20.99. It was Tina’s second time ever racing the event. The next day, she finished sixth overall in the 5,000 meters.

Earning All-American status for these performances was especially meaningful to Tina. In January, she tore her soleus (calf muscle) and was forced to not run for an entire month.

“I raced better at the National meet than I ever could have imagined,” she said. “If you have a goal that you really believe you deserve and you are willing to be patient while you put in the time and hard work, you can reach that goal and may even be surprised with the result.”

A year ago, FSU’s women’s cross country team recorded the highest finish in school history as they placed eighth at the 2010 NCAA Division II National Championships. According to Tina, this year’s team is “really strong” with contributions expected from every class as they work towards a fourth consecutive national championships appearance.

“A top five finish [nationally] would be ideal,” she said. “But we’re trying not to put pressure on ourselves and just do our best.”

Individually, Tina’s goals for this season are to “improve upon last year” and repeat as the regional champion while leading her teammates by example.

“I try and live my life in a way that allows me to reach my full potential,” she said.

Tina’s ultimate goal is to represent Great Britain in a major international championship event. After graduation, she plans to continue her training and believes her greatest ability lies in marathons as “it is the perfect event” for the way she races.

“I do not ever see myself not running,” Tina said. “It is such a huge part of my life.”