By Ben Mlurphy
The accolades for Clare’s senior cross country runner Hunter Nivison seem endless. A career best time of 16:21 has paved the way for him to be named to the all Jack Pine Conference team three times, was league MVP twice, named all-regional three times, was a three time state qualifier, a two time all-stater and now, the Clare County Review’s boys’ cross country runner of the year.
Nivison, who also has been a part of three academic all-state teams recently finished his career at the division three state finals on Nov. 2, where the team took fourth place and Nivison finished ninth as an individual.
“This is a great way to go out,” Nivison said of capping his career off at the state finals. “I couldn’t be more happy. Cross country is truly a team sport and I couldn’t be happier with the the teammates I’ve ran with over the years and the teammates I have right now.”
Despite his wealth of awards, his head coach Adam Burhans was quick to point out that Nivision was still a team-first oriented runner.
“He is always thinking of his teammates first and he leads by example,” Burhans said. “I’ve had some talented runners in the past who have allowed themselves to be affected only by what they see in the mirror. Hunter’s love for his teammates was outstanding. He always wanted them to do better before himself. Finally, a mutual respect between coach and athlete is good for team building. We’ve always known that we have each others’ back.”
Still Burhans knows that Nivison has been a key cog to the success of the boys’ cross country program at Clare.
“His work ethic had a natural trickle-down effect to not only the younger runners, but the younger programs,” Burhans said. “The junior high kids really liked being around him. He was approachable and easy to talk to. This was huge for companionship and his overall greatest strength: humility. He truly took his successes in stride and always looked forward to improving his next race, not brag about it.”
Nivision knows that had it not been for tendonitis in his knee that plagued his workouts early this summer, he may have even better this year.
“It was the first time I’ve had to deal with injuries so that was different,” he said. “I kind of just trained through it. That wasn’t the best decision but it ended up healing and I was fine. I lost about half of my summer to that injury. After that it was just getting back into it.”
As for what helped guide him to his great accomplishments, the runner had two individuals he pointed to.
“Obviously I got a lot of help from my coach (Burhans),” Nivison added. “My older brother (Ryan Nivision) got me into running and always pushed me.”
Burhans agrees that Hunter was greatly influenced by his brother.
“He watched what his older brother did for the track team and this instilled a sense of toughness from an early age,” Burhans said. “From there, the running bug simply hit him. His work ethic was borderline insane sometimes. It wasn’t a matter of telling him how much mileage to run, it was often the situation where I had to hold him back from running too much.”