Sandy and Chris Tierney are proud alumni of Saint Leo University, both having graduated with bachelor's degrees in 1988.
Now, three decades later, the two grads are even more proud of their daughter, Meghan, who has an opportunity to earn a medal at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
A Path to the Winter Olympics
The old saying "like father, like son" is a little different in the case of the Tierneys. It was more along the lines of "like father, like daughter," especially for Meghan Tierney and her snowboarding pursuits.
"I was into snowboarding myself and started doing boardercross," Chris Tierney explains. "I introduced my kids to it when they were old enough. But three of them took it much further than I ever did."
Boardercross is a competitive snowboarding event in which up to six snowboarders race down a course that is full of challenges designed for the snowboarder to do turns, jumps and perform other eye-popping maneuvers while attempting to maintain a decent speed.
The Tierneys are parents of four with daughters Meghan and Makyla, and sons Christopher and Daniel. The family currently resides in Eagle, Colo.
Meghan, 21, has competed in the Winter X Games and in the multiple World Cup events for boardercross snowboarders. She qualified seventh in hher last event in Turkey and was the third of four females – and the lone American woman – chosen to ultimately compete in the boardercross competition at the 2018 Winter Games.
It took plenty of persistence for Meghan to reach this point. In November 2016, she suffered a serious back injury and was practicaly written off from ever reaching major heights again in her sport.
"Nobody expected her to do much of anything in that last event," her father admits.
Just over a year later, she has a chance to stamp her name in snowboarding and Olympic history. Her parents are making the lengthy trip of a lifetime to root on their daughter.
"I am just praying for her safety," her dad says. "I don't want to set any expectations for her."
How Saint Leo Impacted the Tierneys
Chris Tierney, 51, earned his bachelor's degree in marketing from Saint Leo. He was also a member of the Sigma Delta fraternity, while his wife was involved with the Delta Tau Delta sorority on campus. Sandy attained a BA in accounting.
"She immediately thought I looked like Brad Pitt when we first met in Tampa," he jokes.
He has fond memories of attending college on the school's University Campus in Saint Leo, Fla.
"I loved my experience at Saint Leo," he says. "I met some amazing people there and made several lifelong friends. Going there really taught me how to pull myself up from my bootstraps and grow up as a person."
He remembers Chuck Fisk, an economics professor, and Ronald Allison, a finance professor and his fraternity's moderator, for making a positive impact on him as a student.
"I walked away with several core values there, such as being respectful, kind and just being a good man overall. It was an experience that I really needed in my life."
He also recalls living with the monks on campus for two months.
"I learned a lot of lessons staying with them," he says.
Since earning a Saint Leo degree, he has worked on Wall Street for the past 28 years. He now works as an institutional sales trader for Virtu Financial.
In the end, Saint Leo University wishes the best of success to the Teirneys and Meghan on her Olympic dreams.
Photo credit: The photographs included in this blog article were submitted by Chris Tierney and are used with permission.
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