Lawrence Free State’s Alexa Harmon-Thomas won the 300-meter hurdles and high jump at the state meet as a freshman, but she failed to win any gold medals as a sophomore.
By TOD PALMER
The Kansas City Star
In May, as a junior, Harmon-Thomas reintroduced herself atop of the podium three times on Memorial Day weekend at Wichita State’s Cessna Stadium and, in doing so, became The Star’s All-Metro girls track and field athlete of the year.
“When she does anything, there are a lot of expectations,” said Firebirds hurdles coach Jordan Rose, who will take over as head coach next season. “At the state meet, anything can happen. Anyone can fall in a meet like she did as a sophomore (in the 100 hurdles prelimiaries).”
It takes a special person to bounce back, which Harmon-Thomas did with a vengeance in powering Lawrence Free State to its first team championship in program history.
Harmon-Thomas, the daughter of the late Derrick Thomas, matched the Kansas Class 6A state-meet record in the 300 hurdles (42.70).
Her 100 hurdles time (14.11) was faster than the state-meet record, but isn’t official because it was wind-aided.
Harmon-Thomas won the long jump (19-5) by nearly 16 inches and also tied Shawnee Mission East senior Grace Pickell for the top mark in the high jump (5-8), but settled for second on a tiebreaker.
“She came into the season with a lot more preparation and a lot more fitness than she ever had before,” Rose said. “I think that set her up for a great base for outdoor track and field season.”
And, boy, did she follow through — earning Female Athlete of the Meet at the Kansas Relays, an honor that included the college and professional athletes who competed, along the way.
“At state, everything came together and she just had an awesome performance,” Rose said. “It made for a perfect couple days basically. She’s a great kid. I know her from school, too, so it’s great to see all this coming together for her this year.”
To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/todpalmer.