Gabby Thomas didn’t start long jumping until midway through this season. Now she’s going to the biggest high school meet in Texas.
The Glenn sophomore qualified for the state track and field meet this weekend at Mark A. Meyers Stadium in the long jump, triple jump and 100-meter dash. Thomas and teammate Chloe Coffee are the first Glenn athletes to qualify for the state meet.
“I’ve been competing all year and this is just another meet,” Thomas said. “If I treat it like we’re in district and I’ll be fine. I’ll be better if I relax. “Every single day in practice we feel like we’re getting faster and we feel like we’re getting stronger.” I know what I can do, but now it’s time to show it. I need to lay it all out there.”
Thomas finished second at both the district and regional meet in the 100-meter dash, setting a personal record of 12.27 seconds in the finals at the district meet on April 12.
In her favored event, the triple jump, she won the district title with a jump of 38 feet, 5.5 inches, nearly four feet further than the second place finisher. Despite a longer jump at the regional meet, she finished in second place.
Thomas set a personal record in the long jump at the district meet with a mark of 18 feet, 2.75 inches and jumped more than four inches further than any other competitor in the long jump at the regional meet to qualify for state.
“It’s challenging when you have a kid that qualified in multiple events, especially when they’re so different,” Glenn head coach Daren Childs said. “At the same time, it’s fun to watch her get ready, especially an athlete that has an opportunity to get (to state) multiple times.”
At first, Thomas was apprehensive about adding another event to her already busy list of disciplines but was fully convinced when she realized it would help her improve her triple jump form.
“Coach (Jordan) Ramey and I sat down and looked at how we could get more points at the district track meet and finish better as a team,” Childs said. “She was totally on board with it. The requirements are a little different.”
The coaching staff at Glenn in addition to Childs and Ramey has a high pedigree in track and field, boasting former Jamaican sprinter Seymour Fagan and Nebraska jumper Jessica Logsdon.
Thomas is also a member of the Lady Grizzlies basketball team, which is coached by Ramey. They went from a winless district season last year to the first playoff appearance in team history, where they advanced to the second round in their second year of existence.
“He knows me and knows how I am and he’s always been supportive fro basketball and he transfers that out here,” Thomas said. “He knows how to keep my energy up and it’s great having that support system.”
Thomas has competed amongst the crowds at Mark A. Meyers Stadium before when she competed at theTexas Relays earlier this season. She finished seventh among all classifications in the triple jump and set a personal record of 39 feet, 2.25 inches.
“I’m taught to have that confidence to think, ‘Yeah, I can go to state,’” Thomas said. “Our coaches have built that up all year. I know what I can do, but now it’s time to show it. I need to lay it all out there.”