Thomas’ transition to cross country brings him to the top
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By Priya Desai
Some realize their true potential for a certain sport from the beginning, but for senior Josh Thomas, he had to go through some defeat to get to the success he has been able to accomplish today.
Thomas is currently the top male runner on Coppell High School’s varsity cross country team and distance track team. What many of us do not know is that Thomas initially started out in soccer freshman year, planning to play on the team.
“I was in soccer and made it through the [cuts], and when it came down to the team, the roster was kind of full, so they had to cut two people, and I was one of them,” Thomas said. “I was put into team sports and we had to do something called the fitness gram. I ran a 5 minute 24 second mile for it and the PE coach [took notice].”
This impressive mile time caught the attention of not only the PE coach but also the cross country coach Roxanne Farris.
“Josh has constantly improved the 3 years he ran cross country,” Farris said, “He has great work ethic and dedication to [become] a better runner. He always gives 100 percent effort and encourages his teammates to do the same [as] an excellent role model team captain.”
Even with some schedule altering, Thomas unfortunately could not switch classes to fit cross county into his freshman year, so his journey began the summer his sophomore year, already a year behind his fellow runners.
“I started training [that summer] with the team and it started off kind of rough as a mid [junior varsity] runner,” Thomas said. “Closer to the end of the training, my friend, [Fan], invited me to a varsity practice.”
Senior Leo Fan has been one of Thomas’ friends and top supporters since the beginning. Fan was there since his times in soccer and has since helped him make the transition to cross country. Even with his disadvantage, Fan still believed in Thomas’ abilities.
“Josh showed a tremendous improvement from taking a year off of cross country since eighth grade,” Fan said. “He was able to make the varsity team towards the last half of the season and was a valuable runner in our district meet.”
Thomas, even with his impressive running skills already, was not able to keep up at first with the varsity team and was not able to make varsity. At the beginning of his sophomore year though, he consistently had the fastest time on the junior varsity team.
At one 5K race the team attended, Thomas’ true potential shone through when he ran a time that would have put him on the varsity team. From that point on he was moved to the predominantly upperclassmen varsity team.
Through training with his new varsity team mates he was able to make radical progress, becoming the No. 2 runner on the team by the end of his sophomore year just behind Carson Vickroy, who now runs at the University of Kansas for cross country as a freshman.
“The captains of my sophomore year were very encouraging through my time on the junior varsity team letting me train with them and by the end of the season I was able to build up and keep up with them, even pass some,” Thomas said.
Training day in and day out was not the only thing that helped Thomas. Fan shed some light on the true passion Thomas shows for running.
“Josh has a lot of commitment in running, more than any of his other current teammates,” Fan said. “The year Josh joined high school cross country, he knew that he wanted to run in college and was committed to fulfill that dream.”
Fan had no doubt about his friend remarking the fact that he saw his success since the beginning.
“I knew Josh would make his way to the top, as I was his teammate in middle school and knew how much potential he had,” Fan said.
Thomas became the top runner for the varsity team once Vickroy left, but he still looks up very highly to Vickroy as a role model for his future running pursuits.
“Hopefully I can continue what Carson did for the team,” Thomas said. “Maybe even commit to a college for running.”