One foot in front of the other: Tierney Wolfgram loves the sport of running
The name is becoming more common in the metro area and the state of Minnesota and she’s only heading into her sophomore year at Math and Science Academy.
Wolfgram caught the eyes of many athletes, coaches and families before she reached her freshman year as she became a triple crown winner in long-distance races her eighth grade year. She won the cross country state title, the 3,200-meter state title and the 1,600-meter state title that year. That winning mentality was good and bad at a young age for her.
“Getting exposed to that opportunity at a young age definitely prepared me for each year ahead and how to train for it,” Wolfgram said. “It also brought a lot of expectations of continuing that success which can create some pressure.”
During this past season, Wolfgram started off with a state title in cross country and defended her title as an eighth grader. Then, the outdoor season came along and the Ping sisters from Cotter made the competition a little more difficult.
Grace and Lauren Ping went to Utah during Wolfgram’s eighth-grade season, but returned to Minnesota this past season. Wolfgram said she was excited when she heard the news about their return. She knew the competition was going to be tough to defend her triple crown titles.
“The Ping sisters and I are good friends, so it’s hard to race against them,” Wolfgram said. “Every time we passed each other you felt bad because you were passing a friend of yours.”
Out of the three events, Wolfgram’s strongest passion is the cross-country running because there’s more paths than the outdoor track. She’s passionate about all the races she runs, but the cross-country season is one that she looks forward to every year.
The freshman distance runner was able to defend her cross country state title, but the two Ping sisters each won the 3,200 and 1,600. Wolfgram placed third in the 1,600 and second the in the 3,200, but all three of them finished in the top three for each race.
After this spring state track meet, Wolfgram said she’s looking forward to a summer filled with training and hard work to not only defend her state title this fall, but also try to earn that triple crown again.
“This summer, I’m in a training system that I did a couple years ago and I loved it,” Wolfgram said. “It’ll help me with my endurance and strategies for running longer distances.”
Math and Science track coach Brendan Ruter is already impressed with the skills Wolfgram has developed heading into her sophomore year, and knows the ceiling continues to rise with her potential for the next three years.
To him, Wolfgram doesn’t need motivation or push in running cross country or track. He’s realized she needs encouragement and teaching because she’s still young and has many years ahead to continue her run at state titles each season.
“Tierney is just an all-around student-athlete,” Ruter said. “She works hard at practice, but also works hard at school work and around her community.”
Wolfgram enjoys school at Math and Science Academy and rigorous levels she faces each school year at the academy. Along with school and track, she also tries to serve some part of her community and give back to a community she loves and enjoys.
Whether that’s helping younger kids at the academy with sports or school or doing a service activity in the Woodbury or Cottage Grove area, she always likes to give back to a community that’s supported her throughout the past couple of seasons and beyond.
“I always love coming to state because that last 100 meters before the finish line is unbelievable,” Wolfgram said. “You can’t even hear yourself because all the coaches and families are shouting and cheering you on. I hope to be able to make more of these in the future because it’s just a fun environment to be a part of.”
Wolfgram enjoys the work of continuing to be better each day and each season. Right now, her focus is on eating better and running better with her strides. She said that her diet isn’t the greatest right now and she wants to learn how to better control that part of her life.
She also wants to continue to learn how to be a better overall distance runner with the help of her coaches and fellow teammates.
Wolfgram is focused on the 2018-19 season and nothing else. She doesn’t want to look too far ahead because she doesn’t know what could happen tomorrow, let alone two or three years from now.
As for the hype around her name and her ability of running, she tries not to think about it, rather focusing on her running, school, community, other activities, family and friends. That’s the most important things her life right now.
“A lot of hard work,” Wolfgram said. “I’m going to be sweating a lot. There’s so many things that I can do to get better and I guess I’m glad I have those things to improve on or else I’d see no hope in getting better.
“I’m just excited to continue the sport of running.”