Tiernan steams ahead in US stint
by Glen McCullough
18th Jan 2013
TOOWOOMBA long-distance runner Patrick Tiernan has put his Australian representative aspirations on hold to accept an exciting career opportunity in America.
Tiernan left Australia last week to take up a full four-year scholarship at Villanova University near Philadelphia in eastern USA.
The former St Joseph's College student's overseas move follows an impressive 18 months on the Australian running scene.
In 2011, Tiernan won the Australian under-18 cross country championship over 6000 metres.
That success added to Tiernan's impressive junior record which included his under-11 national title victory in 2004.
Last year Tiernan stepped up to the under-20 division where he won the national 1500m and 5000m titles at the same meeting.
He also took out the under-20 national cross country title over 8000m on a mud-covered Adelaide course.
Closer to home, Tiernan notched a second successive Toowoomba King Of The Range victory in record time last June.
Bradbury said Tiernan's standout performances not surprisingly put him high on the US college system recruitment list.
"After much deliberation, Pat could not pass up such a wonderful opportunity," Bradbury said.
"We all agreed this was his best chance to get a free education and experience the best competition in the world for athletes of his age and ability."
Tiernan started his studies this week in the hope he will fulfil all NCAA requirements for him to be eligible to race in the autumn for Villanova in the Division 1 NCAA Eastern Conference.
Tiernan's US scholarship acceptance means he will miss a likely Australian spot at this year's World Cross Country Championship, but Bradbury is confident it will only enhance his longer-term representative prospects.
"Patrick's decision was not a light one, giving up a certain spot on the Australian team for the World Cross Country Championships to be held in March," Bradbury said.
"It means he will now put off his debut in the national colours until a later date.
"We have certainly not seen the last of Pat in Toowoomba and it is my firm belief that he will represent Australia in coming years, most notably I hope at the 2020 Olympic Games."