LAURA Nicholson is on the fast track to the very top.
The rising Bandon Athletic Club star was crowned the 2017 West Cork Youth Sports Star of the Year in January in recognition of her exploits in that year – and good news travels fast after Temple University in Philadelphia added Laura to their ranks for the 2019-2020 season.
The university’s women’s cross country and track and field programme has captured the Bandon teenager’s signature and she will link up with the Philadelphia outfit next year.
It’s further evidence that Laura (18) is destined for great things.
‘We are very excited to have Laura join our programme,’ explained Temple University’s head track and field coach Elvis Forde.
‘Not only is she excellent on the track, but her cross-country pedigree will surely help us continue to develop our programme to the level we want it to be.
‘James (Snyder, head cross-country coach) has done a fantastic job recruiting at the international level to help our programme reach the next tier, and Laura will be a crucial addition next year as we continue to ascend up the ladder both at the conference and NCAA level.’
This year, Laura won the U19 3000m national final and set a 1500m PB, which followed on from her breakthrough season in 2017 that marked her out as one to watch.
A talented middle distance runner, she hoovered up gold medals and PBs in 2017, including the All-Ireland U18 1500m title and All-Ireland U18 2000m steeplechase, the combined junior and U18 women’s 4000m national cross-country championship and more.
Temple University know that they have signed a blossoming athlete who has the potential to get better and better.
‘Laura really connected well with our women on her visit earlier this fall and brings a wide range of abilities to our middle/long distance group,’ James Syner said.
‘Last November she won the Irish national cross-country championships and has international experience on the track as well. She’s been coached in a way that will allow her to continue to improve during her time in Philadelphia and I’m really looking forward to her joining our program next August.’
Off the track, the Bandon Grammar School student will study recreational therapy.