When Argyle senior Reese Thompson settled into the starting blocks at the Class 3A Region II track and field meet, he wasn’t concerned about not reaching the state meet his senior year.
“To be honest, I was thinking, ‘Get me out of here,’ because my ankle was just throbbing,” Thompson said.
Thompson took a spill in the 800-meter relay, and his left ankle was swollen by the time he was ready to run in the 110 hurdles. After a few moments in the blocks, the pain and thoughts of missing state disappeared.
“When I get into the blocks,” Thompson said, “everything goes away. I don’t have to worry about pressure or any of that. It helps me zone in, and I get the job done.”
The ankle couldn’t stop Thompson from winning the event with a time of 14.42 seconds, .02 off his preliminary time.
Thompson will represent the Eagles in the pole vault and the 110 hurdles at the Class 3A state track and field meet Friday and Saturday at the University of Texas in Austin.
Coming into the state meet, Thompson has the third-fastest time in the 110 hurdles and the second best mark in the pole vault (16 feet, 3 inches).
Thompson is making his second appearance at the state meet. As a sophomore, Thompson finished third in the 3A pole vault finals. Next year, Thompson will attend Texas and participate in the decathlon for the Longhorns, a testament to the versatility he’s displayed for Argyle head coach Steve Chancelor.
Were it not for the ankle injury, Thompson would have had a chance at qualifying for three events. After Thompson’s spill, Chancelor pulled him out of the 300 hurdles, the fifth event Thompson would have participated in at the regional meet.
“He had a chance at that, and that’s really rare,” Chancelor said. “You rarely see people that could qualify for more than one or two events at state.”
Thompson’s older brother, Kyle, qualified for three events at the state meet and the younger Thompson wanted to accomplish the same feat and knock off Kyle’s school pole vault record of 16-6.
Growing up, Reese Thompson said he always tried to mimic his older brother’s accomplishments.
“Everyone looked up to him and was like, ‘Dude, how are you so fast?’” Thompson said. “I wanted to fill his shoes.”
As he’s come up through high school, his speed has been apparent on the football field as well. Thompson was a starting cornerback for the Eagles during his final three years, and he typically defended the other team’s best wide receiver without any help.
In the Class 3A Division II state title game last fall, Thompson helped bring down Fairfield running back Larry Rose late in the fourth quarter to preserve Argyle’s 38-33 win and the school’s first football state championship.
“He has a lot of pride,” Argyle head football coach Todd Rodgers said. “He has a lot of athleticism. It wasn’t commonplace for him not to battle until the end to make sure the ball wasn’t caught on him. I wouldn’t be wearing this championship ring if he hadn’t saved the game for us.”
Thompson’s speed is only one of the things that has made him unique. Chancelor marveled at the way his athletes all cheered for each other at this year’s District 10-3A track meet, where Argyle edged Celina due in large part to Thompson’s efforts.
Chancelor said he’s been impressed with the leadership qualities Thompson showed in his senior year.
“He’s always had the skins on the wall,” Chancelor said. “Everybody knows he’s a great track athlete, University of Texas signee and et cetera. But track is a tough thing from a team standpoint because it’s so individualized, and he really took on the team component this year and really wanted the team to excel.”
Thompson said he wanted to bring the team together to make the most of his final year with the Eagles.
“I wanted to have a good time and enjoy myself in my last year in track,” Thompson said. “Going to team dinners, that helped our team become like a family. And that was one of my goals — to be a leader and help them enjoy their track experience and make them want to run next year.”
When Thompson leaves Argyle for Austin, he will have left a lasting mark on the program. With a strong performance this weekend, he could leave with a couple more state medals.
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @Ben_Baby.