Otsego Athletic Hall of Fame welcomes Brinn, Kuipers
The Otsego High School Athletic Boosters recently inducted the two newest members into its Athletic Hall of Fame.
Tommy Brinn, a 2009 Otsego graduate, joined 2110 graduate Kelsey Kuipers in being honored.
Brinn participated in ten seasons of sports; he played basketball freshman and sophomore year and was a four-year, two-sport athlete in cross country and track. He ran both cross country and track at the varsity level for four years.
Not only did Brinn excel in the 200m and 400m, but also went back-to-back as the state champion in the 800m his junior and senior years. Along with the state titles, he also set the state record in the 800m his junior year with a 1:51.76 and then took the honor of Michigan Prep all-time fastest 800 meter with a 1:49.27 in 2009, which ranked him fourth nationally in the event.
Brinn holds Otsego records for the 200m, 400m, 800m, 1600m relay and 3200m relay as well as a record in cross country. He also placed third at the 2009 Nike Indoor Nationals, sixth at the 2009 USA Junior Nationals, was named Michigan Track Athlete of the Year for 2009 and was a finalist for the 2009 Michigan’s Athlete of the Year award.
After graduation, Brinn attended the University of Nebraska and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and advertising. He ran track and cross country in college from 2010 to 2013, racking up considerable achievements in track at both the Big Ten Championships and Big 12 Championships in the 800m, 600m and as part of the distance medley relay team.
As a graduate student, he competed for Texas Tech in 2014.
Brinn attributes his love for running to his father, Chauncey, who would always tell him inspiring stories of running from back in his day; to Peter Burrill, who showed him how running was fun; and to Steve Long, who showed him there was a methodological approach to improving. He also thanked Matt Grile and Mark McMillen, who gave him the opportunity to learn leadership skills, and Jay Dirksen, who set his foundation as a college athlete as well as to his family who supported him throughout his career.
Brinn currently works at Truno in Lubbock, Texas, as a product designer. He primarily focuses on app development, mock-ups and UI (User Interface) design.
Kuipers was a three-sport athlete at Otsego, earning 11 varsity letters in volleyball (three), basketball (four) and track (four). She was a captain of all three teams her senior year.
In volleyball, Kuipers was Second-Team All-State her junior year, First-Team All-State her senior year and a top-ten finalist for Miss Volleyball. In basketball, she earned All-Conference honors her junior and senior years.
Kuipers also excelled in track and field, where she qualified for the state meet all four years. She had All-State finishes in high jump her sophomore year as well as the high jump and long jump her junior and senior years, winning a state title in high jump her senior year. She qualified for the Midwest Meet of Champs her senior year and competed for Team Michigan against Ohio and Indiana.
Kuipers still holds Otsego school records in basketball for most blocked shots in a game and most blocked shots in a season as well as records in the high jump, 200m and 100m in track and field.
Following high school, Kelsey attended Michigan State University, where she earned a degree in special education in 2015. While attending MSU, she participated in volleyball for four years, basketball for one year and indoor/outdoor track and field for one season. Accomplishments include back-to-back Sweet 16 finishes in volleyball her junior and senior years and a victory over top-ranked and eventual national champion Penn State her senior year.
Mary Grile (teacher and volleyball coach), Nate Alkire (basketball coach) and Kristin Alkire and Steve Long (track coaches) all supported Kuipers athletically as well as in general. She loves and is thankful to all, including Coach Long for pushing her to settle for nothing less than her best and her parents, who were always there to support her and transport her to all of her events.
Kuipers is currently teaching special education for Portage Northern High School, where she also coaches JV volleyball. She also coaches club volleyball at Dead Frog.