Top Ten Moments of 2018 - Numbers 4 & 3

#3 - Lanae-Tava Thomas Puts On Greatest State Meet Showing Of All-Time

Any other year, and Lanae-Tava Thomas (Rush-Henrietta) would have been the undisputed Gatorade NY Athlete Of The Year.  Her list of accomplishments are many, and each would warrant there own moment.  Chief among them would have to be her jump on January 20th, that shattered the State Record and placed her firmly at US #2 All-Time in the Long Jump.  There were others too, like winning three gold medals at Indoor States, while she may have been one of the only people from her Section to even make it to the meet.  However, for our money, there was no better moment for Thomas than the show she put on at the New York State Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

It may have never been attempted before, let alone accomplished.  Ten Races over two days, including rounds, in an attempt to win them all, without even entering in her best event.  A case of tendonitis had ended her jumping for the Season that Spring, but it didn't stop her from trying for the 100m, 200m, 4x100m, and 4x400m State Titles.  Each of the relays required two rounds.  The Individual events required three.  It's a brutal schedule.
100m Final
On to Day 1.  At 2:00pm, she was ready for first round in the 100m dash.  Bang.  Gun goes off, and she runs a new State Leading time of 11.68, albeit with a 2.7 tailwind.  3:30pm, it's on the line again.  Bang, she blows away the field in the 200m, winning in 23.64, another State Leader All-Conditions.  4:20pm, her first D1 Final, and it's in the 4x100m.  Gun goes off, and Thomas anchors away.  They are now the new State Leaders, only team all year under 47secs, with a 46.89.  One more race to go, plus that whole second day thing.  The 4x400m toes the line 30mins later, at 4:50pm.  Thomas is anchor, and they get the baton in fourth, about two seconds back of the State Leaders, Middle Country.  Thomas shoots off the line, and makes up the deficit.  She splits a 53.73 in her fourth race of the day to win the relay in a new State Leader.  Run in an open race, that 400m split would put her in the Top 20 All-Time for the event in NY.  But now, it was time for some sleep.

It was now Day 2, and the schedule would ramp up, as the legs became more tired.  She's have six races today, two of which were D1 finals, and the rest, Federation.  The competition would be harder, and push the pace in one final effort.  The marathon of events was on.  11:00am, and the 100m D1 Final took to the track.  Bang, gun goes off, and Thomas once again puts it away.  The clock reads 11.65, wind-legal, a big improvement from the day before.  An hour's rest, and it's now Noon.  200m final up on the track.  The gun goes off again, and Thomas pulls away.  It's a 24.10, nearly 0.2 seconds ahead of the next finisher.  All that's left are the Fed Finals.

A short break, less than an hour, and it's 1:05pm, and Thomas is on the line.  It's the 100m Fed Final, the marquee event in Sprinting.  Gun goes off, and Thomas launches to an 11.74 winning mark.  It's been her third time under 11.75 in a 24hr period.  But no time to reflect.  A little over a half hour later, and it's now 1:55pm, and the 200m is set to go off.  She shoots off the line once again, and wins in 24.35, now with a head-wind that has her only one of two girls to break 25-seconds.  And yet again, no time to rest.  The hardest part was yet to come.

With 40mins, she is on the anchor exchange for the 4x100m.  A closer race this time by the time the baton gets around to her, and she shoots out of the exchange.  Hammering to the finish line, she clears the field, and drops another State Leader in 46.61.  It's the 12th fastest time ever run by a New York Squad.  But again, no time to enjoy it.  The 4x400m is the very next event.

Exhaustion on her face, Thomas opted to lead off the relay.  It was all she could do to keep from collapsing.  Through a false start to the field, she was holding herself up for her team.  The gun went off.  Thomas pushed through.  She would hand off to her team even with the lead.  They would fight their best, but wouldn't be able to fight off Medgar Evers, who went on to win in a State Leading time.  They would take second, as the Top Public School in the Fed Final.

Over a two-day period, Lanae-Tava Thomas captured 7 Gold Medals, and one Silver.  It was a monumentous performance, something never equaled prior, and more than likely not for the foreseeable future.  Add to that the Six Gold Medals she has from the Indoor State Meet, and Thomas has more State Meet Medals than any three other female athletes combined for the year, including XC season.  No doubt two more could have been added to that list if Long Jumping was in the picture, and five events were allowed to be contested.  But if any Pentathlete want's to complain about their five events, simply present them with the legendary Lanae-Tava Thomas Spring State Meet Schedule.  We think they may reconsider.

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