Last week marked roughly seven months since Tierney Wolfgram last suited up for a legitimately competitive race.
But this time there were some noticeable differences, and a minor snafu almost cost the high school sophomore her eligibility for two straight track and field seasons.
First, though, a little background.
In March, Wolfgram, one of the country's best young distance runners, transferred from Math & Science Academy to nearby Woodbury High School, which was right down the road from her previous school.
The state's athletic association, the MSHSL, handed Wolfgram a one-year suspension of varsity competition, as it came amid the current calendar school year and represented just a few miles transfer down the road, whether athletically motivated or not.
But that may not have been such a bad thing. Wolfgram, who in October surprised fans of high school distance running when she entered into the Minneapolis Twin Cities Marathon and finished eighth overall, running to an 15-year-old age group record of 2 hours, 40 minutes and 3 seconds, could spend time healing and rehabilitating from a fracture she picked up in March.
Wolfgram would miss the upcoming cross country season in Minnesota -- not including national qualifying or competition -- but she would be back for the track season come her junior campaign. And even then, Wolfgram could still compete in junior varsity races in the fall.
But in May, perhaps someone believed there was a loophole.
A small mistake took place when coaches at Woodbury mistakenly believed that Wolfgram could compete at the Class Section 2AAA True Team Meet, which was orchestrated by the Minnesota Coaches Association and not the MSHSL.
Wolfgram ran the 3200m as a varsity member and placed first in 11:00.54. Yesterday, she ran a JV 1600m and finished in 5:10.34.
When updated of the situation, Woodbury AD Marvin Wooten self-reported the incident, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported, and waited for the decision.
Fortunately, Wolfgram's win in the race did not impact the team competition, and according to the Tribune, the school "received a letter of censure (a reprimanding of the school) but Wolfgram was not punished."
Had she impacted that meet, the sophomore could have been in jeopardy of missing her junior season at Woodbury as well.
Much like Easton Allred this past cross country season, Wolfgram will have a chance to clean up in JV races this fall, and then race again as a varsity member as a junior. Only this time, Wolfgram also made a step up in classification, so her seasons-long duel with the Ping sisters, Grace and Lauren, will have to wait for bigger and better national races.