College signing: Phoenixville track star Tom Timmins lands at Penn

By DAVE KURTZ

Pac-10sports.com

PHOENIXVILLE - The recruiting process can be a long and arduous process, and Tom Timmins had plenty of options to sift through.

But when it came right down to it, the Phoenixville High senior track star didn’t have to go too far to find the perfect landing spot for his academic and athletic pursuits.

The University of Pennsylvania came along with a scholarship offer, and Timmins jumped on the opportunity, putting such potential destinations as North Carolina, Virginia, Duke and Davidson in the rearview mirror.

It was a no-brainer, really.

“When I was trying to figure out what schools I might be attending, I was looking at academics,” Timmins said during a recent press conference, according to the Pottstown Mercury website. “Penn has a good balance and tradition in academics and athletics. I will fulfill my dreams and pursue my career. Running is relatively short, but I will be doing the rest of it for a long time after that.”

The hurdle specialist and middle-distance ace will do his collegiate running at the storied venue that annually hosts the Penn Relays – Franklin Field. When he’s not on the track, Timmins will be getting an Ivy League education, majoring in biology with an eye on pre-medicine.

Timmins projects as a hurdler at the collegiate level. Last season he won the 300 hurdles at the Pioneer Athletic Conference Championship Meet with a clocking of 39.21, and took home bronze medals in the 110 hurdles (15.32) and 800 (2:00.4) at the same event. He later went on to place fourth in the District One championships and 13th in the state meet with identical times of 39.51 in the 300 hurdles.

“Tom is just a great kid, everybody likes him,” said Phoenixville track coach Jay Carlin. “He’s always the first one out to practice and the last one in. He’s the ultimate leader and he leads by example with all the hard work he puts in.”

Timmins workload on the track and in the classroom will ramp up next season at Penn, where he’ll likely participate in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles, up 100 meters from the scholastic level. Last year at the Penn Relays, Timmins ran the 400 hurdles in 53.7.

The son of Tom and Cheryl Timmins, young Tom is following in the footprints of his father – a Penn graduate.

“He has instilled the Penn passion in me already,” said the Phoenixville senior, who claims his father’s legacy didn’t affect the decision-making process.

Whatever the factors, Carlin figured it to be a perfect fit.

“Penn made him a nice offer and he felt comfortable there,” said Carlin. “Academics were his main concern, and what can you say about an Ivy League education?

“Tom is talented and he’s an overachiever. He sets his goals very high and works hard to reach them.”