By DYLAN MALONE
See Thomas run. Thomas runs fast. Thomas did not run fast last year.
In true inspirational fashion, Bellmont sophomore Thomas McNamara has overcome obstacles like doubt and hesitation to go from just a freshman filler on the cross country team to one of the fastest on the team in the span of a year.
“His story is inspirational, indeed,” praised Bellmont boys CC coach Randy Hisner.
Of course it’s not that uncommon to see someone at the freshman grade improve their time throughout the course of the season, but in Thomas’ case the numbers are staggering.
In his first race as a freshman, McNamara found the finish line after a time of 28:00, a time that coach Hisner kindly put, “is not a good time for a high-schooler in a 5K.”
Thomas worked hard all season long and just kept getting better each race with times of 25 minutes. Then 23 minutes. 22. Eventually, he would end his freshman campaign with an incredible 20:40.
While the time itself is not incredible for a high-school runner, it was certainly a marvel considering where Thomas started at the beginning of the year.
Coach Hisner considered Thomas to be, “a nice kid that would be fun to have on the team” when he joined the squad as a freshman. By the end of the season, however, the Bellmont coach saw just how serious the freshman was about getting better and more importantly getting into better shape.
With the help of the Bellmont coach, Thomas not only found himself faster on the course, but also eating a better, more balanced diet leading to the shedding of some unwanted weight that would turn into muscle tone thanks to the running.
Thomas now stands with a more athletic frame and in the off-season he continued his hard work and change of diet. He joined the swim team and put the same commitment into the water sport continually getting better.
The natural progression for Thomas into sports continued when track season began. On the clay track, Thomas pulled the same act as on the cross country course where he continually improved until the end of the season where he finished eighth at sectional in the 3200 meter race with a time of 10:44.
“That time seemed impossible when he first started his freshman year in August of that school year,” Hisner pointed out in awe.
The running continued for Thomas in the hot months of the summer and his work is apparent this year as he is the leader in some of the races including last Saturday’s 12th place overall finish at IPFW’s Plex course.
McNamara led the Braves with a time of 17:21. That’s not a typo. 17:21!
“He continues to dedicate himself and has established himself as one of our top runners,” noted Hisner.
The finish at IPFW is a three and a half minute increase from last year’s time in the same race. It is considered a big improvement to knock off a minute or two in a career at the high school level. Thomas has gone from 28:00 to 17:21 in the span of a year and a few months, a change that is simply unheard of in the sport.
For Thomas it is much bigger than that, however. It is a life goal to stay in shape and to be the best he can be in all three sports he participates in.
Thomas has inspired his teammates to do the same simply by his times on the course. For those reading this now, I encourage you to go out of your way to meet this sophomore. His work ethic may inspire you as well.