In every aspect of her life, Tierney Lindner continually strives to raise the bar. And it’s that approach to life – as well as being a top-notch high jumper -- that is now being rewarded with a track and field scholarship from the University of Nebraska.
The multi-talented Sun Prairie High School senior signed her national letter of intent on Wednesday and couldn’t be happier with her choice of college and the opportunity to continue her passion for high jumping.
“I’m probably not going to sleep at all tonight. It’s going to be amazing,” said Lindner the night before her signing, also noting that she heard they were serving cake.
The defending WIAA Division 1 state high jump champion said it is beyond belief what she is about to experience next fall at the University of Nebraska.
“It’s actually better than living a dream,” she said, “because going to college on a track scholarship at a Big 10 school is beyond my expectations.”
Lindner said her scholarship will cover approximately 80 percent of her college expenses.
Nebraska was one of two colleges offering Lindner a scholarship – the other being Central Michigan. But her visit to Lincoln, Nebraska sealed the deal as she fell in love with the school as well as the personnel she met and the track and field facilities. And being in the stands during Nebraska’s 41-31 football victory over Miami was icing on the cake so to speak.
While Nebraska and Central Michigan were the only schools that Lindner made official visits to and received offers from, Wisconsin, Maryland, UCLA, Kentucky, Iowa, Iowa State, Minnesota, Michigan State and Illinois State were others that expressed interest in her high jump talent.
Along with those colleges, several smaller schools also were interested in her and said she could compete in both track and field and volleyball – a sport she was recently named first-team all-Big Eight Conference.
“I kind of thought about it (volleyball) because my best friend is Molly Livingston and she knew what she wanted (scholarship to High Point University) and I’m happy for her,” said Lindner. “But clearly my passion is track and field while volleyball was a fun thing to do.”
Although Lindner excels in both sports, ironically, neither were her sports of choice during her younger years. She played five years of soccer before being introduced to track and field when she was in 8th grade.
Thanks to some heavy persuasion by SPHS head track and field coach Doug Maughan, Lindner replaced soccer with track and field.
“I remember the track coaches telling me, ‘Wow, you’re pretty good at this (high jump).’ And I’m thinking, ‘Oh yeah, I am pretty good at this.’ ”
Obviously she was and still is with a state championship title to show for it and a SPHS record at 5’-8”.
She also has been a part of the Cardinals’ state-qualifying relay teams – 6th in the 2x400 her sophomore year and 5th place in the 4x400 last season.
Good first impression
Lindner’s official visit to Nebraska in September was loaded with pluses and no minuses.
“I liked the fact it’s a Big 10 school and that they have state of the art facilities,” she said. “And the head coach, Gary Pepin, is also the jump coach and he has coached national champions and Olympians. And the volunteer assistant coach, Dusty Jonas, is also awesome.”
Added Lindner, “I really felt at home and I liked the fact that both athletically and academically they made you feel like they are there to help you and they really want you to succeed.”
What helped get Lindner noticed for her high jumping talent was attending a summer camp (Kangaroo Camp) in Minnesota where instructor, Hugo Munoz, played an integral part in Lindner reaching a new height of 6’-0.
“He’s just an awesome coach and I’m so glad I found him,” said Lindner. “He kept saying to me, ‘You can be an all-American and Olympian.’ He’s such a positive influence and just a great guy.”
What all of her coaches liked about Lindner was her physique – tall and thin.
“They (coaches) told me that I was ideal for high jumping – tall and skinny.”
Lindner, who carries a 3.5 GPA, is planning on majoring in education with an emphasis on teaching math. She would also like to be a track coach once she receives her degree. But before her college years begin, she has some unfinished business to take care of such as setting meet records during the regular season and defending her state title and hopefully setting a WIAA state title record by clearing 6-foot.
Lindner said she and SPHS jump coach, Matt Boberg, have already established goals for the upcoming track and field season with record-setting performances being the primary goal.
Her head coach, Doug Maughan, has no doubts that Lindner will prosper as a college student and high jumper.
“Tierney is not only a phenomenal high jumper, she's an amazing athlete, leader and hard worker,” he said. “Her athleticism is evident when she is competing in track, playing volleyball, or working out in the weight room. That's what really impressed Nebraska's coaches - a multi-sport athlete who is willing to put in extra time in the off-season to reach their full potential.
“As a high jumper, she's one of the top jumpers in the nation. She cleared 6' last summer, which is already good enough to win the Big Ten.
“Nebraska is a traditional power in track & field and they focus a lot of resources on high jump. The Huskers coaching staff will help her achieve all of her goals on and off the track.”
Once the high school volleyball season ended, Linder, along with volleyball teammate Kendall Fellers, joined members of the SPHS football team in the weight room in preparation for their respective spring sports seasons.
“The football coaches watch over us and they are always so positive,” she said. “They know we can’t lift as much as the football players, but they are so helpful.”
Lindner’s commitment to getting better at everything she does comes from her immediate family that consists of her parents, Steve and Julie, her two older sisters, Torrie and Tessa, and her younger brother, Tarrick.
It’s her sister, Tessa, however, that Lindner models herself after.
“She is the perfect hard worker in everything she does,” said Lindner of Tessa, who attends Seton Hall and is on the college swim team. “She’s going to a D-1 college and she is able to balance her school work with athletics. She is just such a hard worker and I really look up to her.”
The high jump couldn’t be more of an ideal event for Linder because as she continues to raise the bar she will be the one others will be looking up to.