Twice is nice for Tierney: Back-to-back state championships for MSA's Wolfgram

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Tierney Wolfgram of Math and Science Academy cemented herself in Minnesota prep cross-country history Saturday, Nov. 4, at St. Olaf College, site of the 2017 Class A and AA state cross-country meet.

Wolfgram won her second Class A state championship in a row — and she's only a freshman.

Last year, Wolfgram won her first state championship as an eighth-grader with a time of 18 minutes, 23.6 seconds. This year, while repeating as a state champ, she demolished last year's time by running a 17:31.6 and beating second-place Lauren Ping of Winona-Cotter by almost a minute. This year's time is also the new record time for Class A in the 5,000 meter race, a distance the girls started running three years ago. She beats the previous record time, held by Lauren Ping's sister Grace (who took third) by more than 20 seconds.

Wolfgram said after the race that she managed to break some bad habits during the race at St. Olaf.

"Really, all of my race strategies are just to run," she said. "I haven't been doing very good with negative splitting this season. I always say that I run my races backwards, starting out way too fast and then slowing down, but this race I did pretty even splits."

Wolfgram also said that winning for the second year in a row really feels great after all her hard work despite some early season struggles.

"It feels really good; I've really worked this season and my work has paid off," she said. "The beginning of the season wasn't going how I wanted it to go, but I really just started visualizing and that really helped me."

Lauren Ping finished second with a time of 18:19.7 and Grace Ping was third in 18:27.5. Taking fourth was Morgan Gehl of Murray County and in fifth was Tenley Nelson of Luverne. All of the top-5 runners were freshman or younger.