Tardy headed to Bucknell

Tardy headed to Bucknell

Tia Tardy one of the top distance runners in state history signed her National Letter of Intent to compete for Bucknell University next fall. Tardy has won an individual xc state title, and individual titles on the track indoors & out. She ranks 2nd all time in the indoor mile, as well as 3rd fastest in the 800m. Outdoors Tardy has the second fastest 800m in state history

When did colleges really start expressing interest?

I had started receiving letters of interest during my junior year. The first day that recruiting was open, I think I got three or four calls. After that, I would get one or two calls every few days and most of them would follow up with emails. None of the coaches indicated that there was one specific meet that "catapulted" the process, but the last race I competed in, I did have a PR in the 800m. I'm sure that helped! Mostly they seemed interested in my range of events and natural speed. They felt there was a lot more to develop, which is what I am hoping to see in college. 

How would you describe the recruiting journey?

I would say that the recruiting process was pretty overwhelming for me for the most part. I typed up a list of questions at the beginning of the summer to ask the coaches. Initially I thought they were calling to ask me questions but I figured out that they really wanted to hear more about what I had to say. So that definitely came as a surprise to me. It was really hard to plan official visits, especially over the summer with the move. Before I knew it, preseason started, and then school. I would say that I have a pretty strenuous class schedule, so finding free time to fly or drive somewhere for a few days was difficult. I think that the hardest part of the recruiting process was calling my top 9 schools and letting them know that I had signed with Bucknell. I am a huge people pleaser, so having to go back and tell the other schools that I had signed, was hard. I could see myself enjoying working with everyone of them, but you have to do what is right for you.

What schools did you visit/consider?

There were 18 schools that showed on going interest in me. It was really surprising but insanely flattering. I did an unofficial junior day down at Harvard with Becky, which was a lot of fun. We got to meet a lot of other great high school recruits as well as watch the Boston Marathon. I unofficially visited Northeastern, Boston College, and Dartmouth on one trip during the summer. The next time I visited campuses was after the New England's XC race in Rhode Island. We visited the campuses of Providence and Brown directly after the race, and then we traveled down to take my official at Bucknell. After my overnight, we drove to UPenn to meet with the coaches and tour the campus.

In the end you picked the Bisons. What was it that sold you on Bucknell?

The funny thing is that I didn't want to take an official to Bucknell. I really wanted to take it at Penn State, but they didn't get back to us in time for my mom to schedule the route and other visits, so she suggested Bucknell because it was on our list and one of the smaller campuses. The goal was really to give me and idea of what different sized campuses looked and felt like. I also wanted to look at the demographics so that I could start to narrow down my list. When I first got there, they were having their intersquad meet. The field house was beautiful and everyone on the team seemed to be having a really good time. I met up with some of the other recruits at the meet and then after, we all went to dinner. The coaches introduced themselves and then the head coach, Coach Donner, gave us a lot of information about the team and what Bucknell had to offer overall. I was very pleased with everything he had to say. After the dinner and meeting was over, a lot of the recruits, including me, went to a little cafe where we just got to hang around and got to know each other. I think it was in that moment that I knew that this was the right choice. I already felt like I had been accepted onto the team, and it was just such a wonderful feeling.

A lot of the schools you looked at were very strong academic institutions as well. How important was that balance of being a true student-athlete?

Yes, I had a lot of very well respected schools take interest in me. I will say again, it was extremely flattering. Having that balance between academics, running and even music, is very important to me. Bucknell is said to have some really great professors that teach the classes themselves (no student teachers), and really love to engage in the individual student. That just felt so comforting to me. I would much rather be in a class room than a big lecture hall for class. There are times when you just need to focus on something other than

Why the decision to commit now?

I had always told myself that I was going to sign in April. I had too much on my plate to deal with signing that early, and I didn't want to even think about it. I really just went down to tour college campus sizes, and to just get a feel for what I liked better. After falling in love with Bucknell, and having the choice to sign early, I wanted to do it. I can now just relax and focus on my academics, music and running.

What are the goals for your senior track season?

My goals for this track season are pretty high. A lot of people have asked me if I am just taking it easy this year because I already signed, but no, I am very excited about these last two seasons. For indoor, I would like to see myself below a 2:10 for the 800m and around 4:50 (or better) for the mile. I think that if I can keep myself healthy, I can definitely achieve those goals. Going into outdoor, I would just like to keep progressing my times from indoor. 

What are you looking forward to most about the college experience and being a Bison?

I am really looking forward to finally settling down and staying at the same school for 4 years! I have traveled a lot, but I wouldn't change it because it all helped me get to this point. I am excited to train and compete at that next level, and meet even more amazing individuals. I know that I am going to have amazing coaches and a very strong, and determined team to work with. I couldn't be more excited.

Lastly, is there anyone you'd like thank for helping you get to where you are today?

There are so many people I would love to thank. It would be hard to type out all of the amazing things that people have done for me, but I know they deserve it. First of all, I would like to thank my amazing family. Thank you for taking such an incredible amount of time to come to my meets and drive me to far away places just so I could run. I know that my mom has made it to just about every meet I have ever competed in, and my father and sister have been to as many as they could make. My grandparents and cousins have always made it to a meet when they could, and it is so uplifting to see them before I race or cheering me on from the sidelines. I would like to thank all of my friends who have drove to meets to cheer me on or showed their support through social media when they couldn't make it. Thank you to Paul Firlotte and Ernie Tracey for making every meet they can and always comforting me if I don't have the exact race I am hoping for. I would like to thank Ziggy for inspiring me and filling me with even more knowledge about running. Thank you to Mary Wilbur for driving all over to watch me run, I am so grateful for it! A special thank you to my cousin David who has taught me so much about running these past few years. I truly wouldn't be where I am today if he wouldn't have been there to help me every step of the way. I know I can always count on him! There are so many more people I could name, but know that I am extremely thankful for everyone that has been there for me throughout the years. It has been a long run (pun intended), and I am excited to see where the next one takes me! I couldn't have done it without all of the love and support that you all of shown me. I feel extremely blessed! 

By The Numbers (Personal Bests)

  • 800m (in) - 2:13.84
  • 800m - 2:12.19
  • 1600m - 5:02.45
  • 3200m - 11:04.87
  • 2 Mile (in) - 11:17.48
  • 3 Mile (xc) - 18:04.97
  • 5K (xc) - 18:14.48
  • Long Jump - 17-5