Warriors Cross Country Eyes Future, Postseason Meets
The Thompson Cross Country team has finished their regular season and now looks to the
postseason after continuing their ascension among the state’s elite programs in head coach
Chris Schmidt’s fifth year at the helm.
Schmidt along with coaches Mason Dye and Katie Vanover have been navigating Class 7A’s
Section 3 (affectionately known as the “Section of Death), building depth in the program while
also training several state qualifiers in the process who have gone on to continue their athletic
careers at the next level.
Jace Jones, an All-State performer in 2019, committed to run for the University of Alabama and
left big shoes to fill. Fortunately, Schmidt has several solid runners this year and none have
been bigger than junior Jackson Hamlin who’s led the Warriors all season.
“Jack’s done an amazing job, he’s kind of taken over that leadership role and he’s made the
phone calls, gotten the guys together for long runs and held the team accountable,” says
Schmidt. “I think after we won the Warrior 2 Mile at the beginning of the season his eyes opened
up and he realized we have a shot. I’m expecting great things from him Thursday and I’m pretty
confident he’ll qualify, get a wild card and go to state. I think he’ll run a great race at state, he’s
ready to pop.”
Senior Emily Allen has had an exceptional career at Thompson piling up top ten finishes and
leading the girls’ squad multiple years. She was having another All-State calibur year, but an
injury caused coaches to hold her out for the remainder of the season. A veteran who’s qualified
for the state meet several times, Allen doesn’t have much more to prove at the high school level
so the team is looking for bigger things down the road for her.
“She could qualify for state, but I think she’s looking past state to some national events so we’re
looking at that for her,” said Schmidt. “She’s qualified for state in previous years and she knows
the bigger picture. A few weeks down the road where she can run really fast at a national event
and open the doors for a full scholarship.”
Despite the setback, Coach Schmidt has been impressed as Allen hasn’t missed a beat and
continues to find ways to help her teammates improve.
“She’s led the team, done a great job with that, still working out on the bike in practices and she
hasn’t missed a meet yet,” says Schmidt. “She’s motivating the girls and showing that
leadership regardless of her situation.”
Schmidt feels confident in his lineups heading into the final stages of 2020 and knows the future
is bright. He believes his top 3 guys could all possibly qualify for state via wild card. He’s taken
his team to several tough courses not conducive to setting personal records, but has built
strength within the team that could pay dividends in the postseason.
Sophomore Cameron Prosser is another reason for that confidence as the young runner has
solidified his place atop the lineup.
“Cam is a trooper, tough as nails and he’s drinking the kool-aid. He’s been Mr. Reliable, we’ve
been very impressed with his performance this year,” said Schmidt. “We’ve talked about coming
out a little more aggressive at the start of his races and it’s been very effective.
The Warriors had two freshmen running in their top five, but went down in consecutive weeks
with stress fractures. Schmidt remains confident and very optimistic about the future with those
Senior Jacob Cofield has also provided a steady presence for the team and has been gaining
momentum headed into the final stretch of the year.
“He had a great first race to start the season and the last two meets he’s really found himself
again,” says Schmidt. “I think if he’s smart, does what he's supposed to do and sticks with Jack
that first mile, good things will come.”
The girls team has seen their share of setbacks as well, but different Warriors have risen to the
occasion each time. In Allen’s absence, Lauren Moon has taken the mantle for the girls and has
performed admirably with several top 20 finishes to her credit on the season.
“Lauren has been our number two most of the season and last year I think she missed a wild
card by a few spots so this year, if she goes after it, I’m looking for her to steal a card,” says
Schmidt. “She’s done a great job this year and I know she’s hungry. If she does what she’s
supposed to do I think she’ll get a good spot.”
Sophomore Whitney Clark, a standout player in softball, has also impressed on the trail this
year and had to step up with Allen and Moon being out at different points in the season.
“When Emily and Lauren were out she took up that leadership role, organizing the girls in the
warmups and leading them out of the box,” said Schmidt. “I’m looking for great things for her
down the road as well.”
Another bright spot has been Zora Jackson who’s just bumped up from middle school but is
already showing great promise. Coach Schmidt also sees her as a 400 and 800 meter runner
for track in the spring, but says she’s really grown this season. At the Husky Invitational,
Jackson was particularly impressive running for the junior varsity, but eclipsed several times
from runners at the varsity level.
“I’m really excited to work with her in the future and figure out what’s going to work for her,” says
Schmidt. “She’s a distance runner who’s got great speed and you’ve got to love those type of
athletes. It’s amazing to watch how competitive she is and she’s gotten stronger and matured a
little bit as she learns how to run long distance.”
The Warriors will put all their hard work on the line Thursday, November 5th as they battle for
Section 3 at Spain Park and the state meet on the horizon, November 14th. Chris Schmidt and
his squad are ready to take the program another step forward and set themselves up for a
future full of possibilities.