THERE is an undoubted irony that, having declared her allegiance to Scotland, Nicole Yeargin won’t be able to enjoy her favourite delicacy quite as often as she used to.

“I love you guys’ sausage rolls,” says the 22 year-old down the line from Los Angeles. “Every time I go back there I have to get one. I’m sure we maybe have something like that over here but they don’t taste as good as y’all’s sausage rolls. They’re really good.”

As her athletics career takes off, however, there will likely be less scope for gorging on savoury delights whenever she next returns to these shores.

Yeargin still has a year to go in her Real Estate Development degree at the University of Southern California (USC) but already she is giving serious consideration to her potential Olympic and Commonwealth Games prospects.

The Maryland native qualifies to race for Scotland and Great Britain through her mum, Lynn – born and raised in Dunfermline – and Scottish Athletics already have high hopes for her.

Little wonder. Yeargin’s personal best over 400m (52.76) would have been good enough to win all but one of the last 18 Scottish outdoors championships and is only marginally outside the 52.52 recorded by Aberdonian Zoey Clark on her way to British bronze last August. She is no slouch over 200m either, her PB of 23.26 faster than any time recorded in the nationals going back to 2000.

Should the coronavirus lift in time, a wider audience may get to find out soon if she can do it with a Scotland or GB vest on, with Yeargin not ruling out making a tilt for an Olympic spot next year. Failing that, the Commonwealth Games of 2022 are a definite target.

“In the last two years I’ve seen a lot of improvement in my technique,” she added. “I now have the muscle memory that lets me run fast over and over again.

“If we get a college season this year then I will definitely be shooting for a place at the Olympics. I train here with some of the top girls so why not? Delaying it by a year might work in my favour.”

HeraldScotland:

It was a former coach at Kent State in Ohio who persuaded Yeargin to investigate the possibility of representing Scotland and now it has come to fruition with a little insider help.

“It was me who approached Scottish Athletics initially to see if I could run for them,” she revealed. “My old coach at Kent was trying to get me in contact with them to start the process.

“And then when I came to USC one of my team-mates was on the British team and I went through him. That was a much faster route.

“I started doing track in my final year of high school and for most of that time I didn’t know how any of the international stuff worked. But then when I started to run faster I thought, ‘Hey, let’s see if I can represent Scotland and Great Britain.’

Her eligibility to compete for Scotland came as a surprise to many of her friends and colleagues but her heritage is important to her.

A major perk of her mum’s jobs was regular family trips back home, and Yeargin and sister Stephanie would tag along, too.

A planned visit this year has been postponed because of the virus but Yeargin, who also played football (soccer) growing up, says her Scotland call-up has made her whole family proud.

“My mum moved to the States when she was in her 20s so she’s pretty full-on Scottish! I don’t really recognise her accent anymore as I’m used to it but all my friends think it’s pretty funny when they speak to her. A lot of them didn’t know about me being half-Scottish.

“But my mum’s background was always a big thing in our family. Because she used to work for the British Embassy and then the World Bank, they gave her home leave every other year. So me and my sister went to Scotland all the time when we were little. We were supposed to go again in August to celebrate my grandmother’s birthday but corona has messed that one up.

“The weather is the biggest thing I remember from when I was little – it was always cloudy. Not really beach weather. We saw loads of old things like castles. And the houses were smaller than in the States. We normally just stay around the Fife area and it’s really nice.

“My grandmother was so happy with the news that I was going to run for Scotland. She’s always been in my corner supporting me. And she’s really happy for me to embrace my Scottish side for a change.”