Ollie Hoare isn’t like most teenagers.
Many youngsters float through their teenage years without a plan for the future. And only when it’s too late do they look back and think about what might have been.
But not Hoare.
The 19-year-old has left for the University of Wisconsin in the US after earning a full athletic scholarship where he will run as a freshman for the school’s men’s cross country team.
Hoare will be the school’s only international track and field athlete and won his place in Wisconsin on the back of a number of impressive results.
In the last 12 months the Caringbah runner became the Australian under-20 cross country champion as well as the open state 1500 metres champion. It was those results, along with a conscious effort to make sure he achieved the marks necessary to be accepted into a college athletic program, that saw him earn his place.
That hard work, on and off the track, is what Hoare told the Leader had been a plan three years in the making.
“Since I was about 16 I looked at [the US] and saw it as an opportunity,” he said.
“I told my parents I wanted to do it and they didn’t laugh at me but they said ‘it’s a big step’.
“It’s been a big goal for me and pulling it off the whole process has been hard but good.
“My HSC year [my parents] came to me and asked if I still wanted to do it. I limited a lot of things and sacrificed things like surf club and swimming and beach time and just focused on running and study.
“I had to really hammer my grades and I ended up getting an ATAR well above what I needed so that and my athletic results really paid off.”
Hoare was offered scholarships at a number of universities but only considered three – Wisconsin, Florida and Iona.
He also has two major competitive goals on the horizon – the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in 2018 and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“It is exciting. Very nerve-wracking. I’ve got good support from family and friends here but going over there by myself is going to be tough,” he said.
“But that’s what I want to do. I want to improve and reach for something better.
“I’d love to see if I can get into the Australian team for the Commonwealth Games and back myself to keep going for Tokyo.”
Hoare was to begin training immediately on arriving in Madison, heading off to a training camp near the Canadian border to train and bond with his new teammates before school begins in September.