Team Awards

Annual Team Awards

Athlete of the Year

The Athlete of the Year award is annually presented to the runner who is able to achieve significant accomplishments throughout the year.  This often involves multiple great races or achievements at multiple distances and across the year through many races.

2023 - Olivia Werner

This year’s Athlete of the Year award goes to Olivia Werner.  Olivia committed herself over the last winter to focusing on training and becoming very competitive as a local racer.  She has quietly put in the work each and every week in all types of weather and conditions.  Her training paid off over the rest of the year where she set a number of PRs across several distances.  She also had a number of top 10 race finishes, multiple age group top 10 finishes and several age group wins.  Based of that training she also recently broke the 20 minute barrier in the 5K for the first time.  In addition she's led Northstar Running as our club president and is involved on a daily basis in helping to grow the club membership and manage the daily activities to keep the club running smoothly.

2022 - Nathan Branson

This year’s Athlete of the Year award goes to Nathan Branson. Nathan showed up to almost every run throughout the year—rain, shine, snow, or kitchen remodel! He will run with any runner who needs company, regardless of their pace, and has been known to extend his long run several miles so that people don’t run alone. Nathan has shown dedication to the team, and embodies what it means to be a team athlete. Way to go, Nathan! 

2021 - Debbie Hultman

Debbie Hultman


No award due to COVID


No award due to COVID

2018 - Sat Jamunar

Our Athlete of the Year winner had a fantastic year. His consistent training helped him to participate in numerous races – most notably the Looney Challenge on TCM weekend in October. He PR’d in the 8K, 10K, 10mile, and half marathon.

2017 - Anthony Fryer

Our athlete of the year for 2017 has put in a tremendous amount of work over the last couple of years and trained very consistently.  This year, he saw all the hard work begin to pay off.  He had PRs in at least 7 different races.  These included his first time breaking the 5:00 barrier in the mile and the 2:50 barrier in the marathon.  He was a key contributor to the Northstar USATF master’s mens team.  As part of his training group, I can personally tell you how consistently hard he works at every run and how he is always ready to help the rest of us in the group in any way he can.

2016 - Elaina Schellhaass

Our athlete of the year for 216 had a year that was truly remarkable.  She raced a number of different distances and had at least 5 PRs, 7 Age Group Wins, 10 Top Ten race finished, 15 Age group top ten finishes, and 3 overall race wins.  Some of her accomplishments include completing her first Ironman triathlon at Madison, winning the Get Luck Half Marathon, and winning the Las Vegas Rock and Roll Las Vegas marathon.

2015 - Rob Economy

Rob had a tremendous year in 2015.  He proved to us that you can be one of the best runners in the state into your 50s.  He’s been through injuries and ups and down, but has always bounced back and is running stronger than ever.  His year included not one, but two marathons at 2:50 or faster.  He has some solid performances at distances from 5K all the way up to the marathon.

Service Recognition

We recognize team members who provide the team with exceptional service or contributions.  This award is given for assistance in providing the team with work to help us run and promote the team to the running community as a whole.

2023 - Neil Millam

I’m honored to present the 2023 Service Recognition award to Neil Millam.  Many of you newer to the club many not know that Neil is one of the founding members of Northstar. When his running days came to a close, without hesitation, he continued his commitment to our community through his support and service.  Neil has been nominated for his work as “Pit Crew Lead” for our annual smoosh race event.  Without fail, and many years with very cold fingers, he has shown up early willing to do whatever is needed to set up, fix broken boards, replace gross smelly shoes, keep everything running smoothly, and still hang around to help clean up at the end.  Without question, you take the component of the smoosh event that has the potential to be the most complex and just make it work.  Thank you, Neil, for being willing to share your skills and your time and energy with our community.

2022 - Missie Jacobson

This year’s service recognition award goes to Missie Jacobson. Missie took literally thousands of amazing photos at the smoosh race, volunteered at the track meet in June, cheered runners on after she finished running Grandma’s half, ran a station at the eggnog schlog, and made the awards for this year and last year’s award ceremony! When Missie is asked to help out, she says yes, even if it means she has to drive a long distance. Thank you, Missie!

2021 - Kate Kelly

Kate Kelly


No award due to COVID


No award due to COVID

2018 - Cindy Ravn

Our service recognition award goes to an individual that has helped out the team both through volunteering as well as financially. She has helped out with tonight’s party – helping us find a location as well as being the liaison for Park Tavern. In addition, she helped out at volunteer events throughout the year. She donates proceeds from her Northstar Cabi shows back to Northstar to show her appreciation for the club. The appreciation is mutual – we are lucky to have her!

2017 - Brenner Sandberg

Our winner this year has contributed to Northstar in numerous ways over the years of our existence, and this award for him is overdue.  He organized our Indoor stadium marathon, complete with medals for all participants.  He has built, painted, and created stencils for us to decorate multiple smoosh boards.  He’s recruited several of our members and smoosh teams for our event in February.  He’s always ready to jump in on any idea, no matter how crazy, and help to make it happen.  He has also run our social media accounts over the last several years.  The next time you see a Tweet, Instagram post, or great picture on Facebook, there a good chance that he posted it.  And he does pretty much all of this without being asked.

He stayed involved in the club even with all the other activities that he’s been involved in this year, including his passion for beer, training for ultra races, and getting married.  We’re blessed to be able to call him a teammate!

2016 - Ann Davenport

Ann works behind the scenes of Northstar Running to make so much of what we do happen.  You may not be aware of the work that contributes to even the simplest of club activities, but if you stop to think about the, Ann is the person who makes them happen.  The amazing running and casual gear that we sport with our Northstar logo and colors were researched, designed, ordered, and  often delivered to you by Ann.  The calendar to schedule daily runs is all orchestrated by Ann.  She makes sure that each run location has a connected map and time.  She makes sure that locations are appropriate to the type of workout we are doing, as well as balancing west and east side locations.  Without the tireless work she does, often with little acclaim, we would not be able to have the team we have today.

Most Improved

Our Most Improved runner is given to the athlete who is able to make significant strides in their performance throughout the year.  Our Most Improved athlete is often able to set a large PR in one ore more distances through hard work and training.

2023 - Ranae Jonsson

This year’s most improved award goes to Ranae Jonsson.  Ranae has recently completed her first full year as a new runner.  She jumped right in to training plans and in doing so set PRs in 5 races across 4 different distances (5K, 10K, 5 Mile, and 10 Mile).  She often comes back from a race or run, with a big smile on her face, and the first words we hear are, "That was my longest run ever!".  Ranae is an extremely positive influence in the club and is always ready to take on new challenges and support our other runners out racing.

2022 - Gavan Jacobson

This year’s most improved award goes to Gavan Jacobson. Gavan worked hard to beat his time from last year’s Brian Kraft race, followed training plans, and worked hard to have great races at Grandma’s half and the TC 10 mile. He also started running cross country for his school. Gavan has shown dedication, determination, and a willingness to put the effort in for great results! 

2021 - Phil Jonsson

Phil Jonsson


No award due to COVID


No award due to COVID

2018 - Matt Schmidt

Our most improved winner for 2018 showed significant improvement this year, despite dealing with injury. He has trained hard and consistently to achieve some major milestones. He had multiple PRs across multiple distances – 5K, 4 mile, 8K, 10K, 12K, 15K, and marathon. He broke the 3:00 hour barrier in the marathon as well.

2017 - Missie Jacobson

Our most improved award typically goes to the runner with the largest PR.  Our winner this year separated herself with a marathon PR of 1:14.  She also PR’d at several other distances, including the half marathon, 4 mile, and 10K.  She has consistently trained at a higher level over the past couple of years and her improvement is clear to see both in training runs and on the race course.  She often drives in from a great distance just to join us for speedwork nights, even when she’s doing a separate workout.  The commitment has paid off.

2016 - Meghan Doherty

When Meghan joins us I immediately saw her resolve as a person and as a runner.  She often run alone when she isn't matched up with a pace group.  She decided during 2016 to train for her first marathon.  She set her scheduled for running to complete the race and didn't waver from it.  Being one of the runners towards the back of the pack has never cause her to waiver in her determination.  She saw the hard work through and successfully completed her first marathon at Grand Rapids last fall.

2015 - Annie Burrows

Annie ran into us at the track one night and we slowly convinced her to come run with us.  She hasn’t looked back since.  Her training was solid throughout the summer and she topped it off with her first sub-4 hour marathon.  She also won this year’s King of Hills competition with a great series of steady consistent workouts.

Performance of the Year

The performance of the year is given to a runner who is able to achieve a goal or great performance in one or more races.  This award is often given to an accomplishment that is accompanied by a great story to go with the race or event.

2023 - Dan Worley

Dan Worley

Dan has worked for several years to break the 5 hour barrier in a Half Ironman Triathlon.  After several attempts, he had an excellent training cycle leading up to his goal event in Des Moines in June.  While there he ran an excellent half marathon as part of the event, and finished just outside of the goal time.  Never one to be discouraged, he competed again last summer at the Chisago Lakes Triathlon.  At that even he bested what was an excellent half marathon time at the end of the triathlon and in combining that with a solid swim and bike, achieved his goal, crushing his goal and finishing in 4:54!

2022 - Lisa Rippe

We tried to count how many races Lisa Rippe raced or paced in 2022, but we lost count. Lisa participated in races almost every weekend. Often she was giving back to the running community through pacing for the races, but she also managed to earn several PRs along the way! When she wasn’t racing or pacing, she was coaching or volunteering for the running community in other ways. Way to go, Lisa!

2021 - Mary Rae Kim

Mary Rae Kim


No award due to COVID


No award due to COVID

2018 - Ben Osborn

Running a marathon is a challenge no matter the circumstances. It is even more challenging when adding a giant spray foam brain onto your head and running that same distance. That is exactly what this year’s performance of the year winner did for the Twin Cities Marathon. He not only ran the race but trained throughout his entire training cycle wearing the brain to acclimate his body to the additional weight. He raised money for Children’s Minnesota through Team Superstars and he also raised awareness for pediatric brain tumors.

2017 - Damon Rothstein

Our performance of the year goes to a runner who after other training cycles and attempts, we finally able to achieve his first Boston qualifier this year.  He cut 22 minutes off of his marathon PR in the process.  He trained for his marathon in the midst of an extremely demanding travel schedule, often running workouts by himself in whatever city he was currently staying in.   He remained focused throughout the training cycle and saw it through all the way to the finish line on race day.

2016 - Sat Jamunar

Our performance of the year is from the Twin Cities marathon last fall.  Sat had only once run faster than a 4:30 marathon and trained consistently throughout the summer.  His training paid off on race day, where he logged a nearly 7 minute PR.  I was fortunate enough to run some of the final miles that day with Say, and I can only hope the I'm that tough late in a race.  He was obviously hurting and his energy tank was empty, but he never quit fighting for ever single step forward to the finish line.

2015 - Lisa Millam

On a Tuesday in late December in 2010, Lisa took a day off from running.  Since then, she hasn’t missed a single day of running at least a mile.  She runs through heat; she runs through cold; she runs through rain; she runs through snow.  She’s run a mile through an airport and she’s run a mile a day after completing a 24 hour ultra marathon.  Her dedication to running has inspired many of us here to attempt runs, training cycles, and our own streaks that we might not have otherwise considered.  As she heads towards her 6 year streaking anniversary, we continue to be inspired by her dedication.

Team Spirit Award

Team Spirit is recognized as our team member who promotes the fun part of Northstar.  This includes cheering, providing support at races and runs, and general encouragement of our teammates and runners in the community.

2023 - Claire Kamp Dush

Claire Kamp Dush

Claire was nominated for almost every award, and her enthusiasm was a theme throughout the nominations. She shows up ready to go, rallies the people she runs with, makes friends with everyone, recruits so many new people, - be it her husband, her kids, or her coworkers. She’s always ready for a challenge and to bring the energy. She and Aaron were riding with us to the start of the TC 10 mile last October, when we got the notice that it was canceled most of us had the “alright we’ll go back to bed and reconvene in a few hours for a few miles.” Claire instantly said “I’m going to text people and we can go run 10 miles RIGHT NOW!”

2022 - TCM Cheering Squad

This year’s team spirit award goes to the crew of Northstars who cheered until the end of the Twin Cities Marathon. The group in this picture did many things to support the TC Marathon weekend—some ran in the events, some were running up and down the course pacing people, others were there before sunrise getting things set up, but everyone was there cheering on the runners until the last marathoner came through. Great job, group!

2021 - Pat Wehr

Pat Wehr


No award due to COVID


No award due to COVID

2018 - Gerard Cramer

This year’s team spirit winner consistently illustrates our mission as a team – to provide a fun and supportive community that encourages all runners to grow. He has been an asset to have on the trails – helping us navigate some new areas. He always shows up to the runs with a smile and is always willing to jump in and run with others.

2017 - Ellen Kendall

Our team spirit award is presented to someone each year who contributes in a significant way to the team with their positive attitude, cheerfulness, and personality.  This year’s winner probably attends more of our runs that just about anyone else on the team.  She’s always got a positive outlook on every run, and she’s always willing to help out anyone who needs it.  She has grown as a runner in the years that we’ve known here and is no longer a newbie, but someone here that many of us look to as a leader.

2016 - Nathan Branson

Nathan joined this group of people several years ago as a casual runner.  He quickly caught the bug, and was soon training and running 10 milers, half marathons, end even full marathons.  Nathan is one of the personalities in this group that make it so welcoming and friendly.  He's always up to run with just about anyone, anytime, anywhere.  He's always positive and supportive of the team no matter what the situation.

2015 - Robbie Skantz

Robbie has proven to us that nothing stops him from having a positive outlook on life and running.  Whether he’s supporting teammates at races, joining us for runs, or even offering to help out random strangers with a tire change during a run, nothing brings him down.  His attitude rubs on off all of us and we’re better runners and better team for it.