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Track and Field: MSA distance runner Wolfgram is back for more

Tierney Wolfgram runs during the Class 1A state cross-country race last fall at St. Olaf College in Northfield. File photo / RiverTown Multimedia

Math and Science Academy distance runner Tierney Wolfgram knows she has a target on her back this spring.

Winning tends to do that. The Dragons eighth-grader won a Class 1A state cross-country title last fall, gapping the rest of the field by 30 seconds for a 5-kilometer time of 18 minutes, 23.6 seconds at St. Olaf College in Northfield.

After a finish like that, runners have learned about the Woodbury resident's ability. Now she is learning to manage expectations, starting with this spring's track and field season.

"It gives me confidence, but still, anyone can rise up in the 2-mile or 1-mile," Wolfgram said about her mindset after last fall's cross-country season. "So it's nerve-wracking, too, because people are going to be aiming for me. I just have to keep my head and myself looking forward making sure I don't get too confident."

Wolfgram has backed up her strong cross-country season with high marks in the track and field season this spring. At the Hamline Elite Meet, an invitational for the state's top athletes, Wolfgram ran a 3,200-meter time of 10:52.32, which gave her a second-place finish behind Farmington's Anna Fenske who finished in 10:41.25.

Emily Covert, a sophomore from Minneapolis Washburn, finished third in the 2-mile about four seconds behind Wolfgram. Looking back at the meet, the Math and Science Academy runner wishes she would have made an effort to stay closer to first-place.

"I think I should have stayed with her," Wolfgram said about Fenske. "The last two laps she sped it up, and I just stayed with Emily Covert. I think I should have actually moved up with Anna."

Wolfgram also finished sixth in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 5:05.00. Both races at the time had set personal records.

Wolfgram is a talented runner, as she has shown in big meets over the last few seasons.

After winning a state title, Math and Science Academy coaches have watched as she has set increasingly larger goals.

"I think it adds a little more of a weight as far as her expectations for herself, and what she needs to do," Math and Science Academy coach Brendan Ruter said. "She's a little more aware of other people's perceptions, and she might add more weight on herself than she needs to I think sometimes. There has definitely been a change in her confidence as far as who she should be running with, who she should be beating and how aggressive she is."

Last season, Wolfgram finished second in the Class 1A state championship 3,200-meter race to Winona Cotter runner Grace Ping.

However, Ping has since moved out of the state of Minnesota, opening up Wolfgram's opportunity to add another state title to her resume.

Once again, she has big aspirations.

"The goal is to win state for at least the 2-mile, and hopefully the mile," Wolfgram said. "That's the goal for the end of the season."

Blaze Fugina

Blaze Fugina is the sports editor of the Woodbury and South Washington County Bulletin newspapers. Previously, Blaze worked as a sports editor for the Pierce County Herald and a sports reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.

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