Even so, Wyoming has long since grown on Thomas. Her mother and her sisters will make the trip from Louisiana and join her father and step mother, Amber Green, for her graduation.
How the future of UW track affects her remains to be seen. Wyoming announced on Monday that Yentes wouldn't be retained after this past season. Steinberg said Thomas showed her a text from Yentes, who broke the news to Thomas about his release, and added that Thomas has been, understandably, upset.
Outlaws sprint coach Phil Bennett said Thomas has been driven as an athlete and those losses to Davis one in a 100 race early in the season, and both the 100 and 200 at this year's Wyoming Track Classic have further motivated her.
But it wasn't until her visit to Laramie and an "instant" connection with coach Don Yentes that Thomas decided she was going to be a Cowgirl. Basically, the family feel of UW won out over the familiar feel of BYU.
"It was more of that home feeling," Thomas said last week. "I feel like Nike Cortez Mens Blue I made the right choice."
At first, Wyoming and Thomas didn't quite mix. She moved to Rawlins from Louisiana at the start of her eighth grade year and instantly hated it.
Nancy Steinberg reminisced at practice on Wednesday morning.
Wyoming recruit Kereston Thomas set to close prolific career
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even think she's reached her last gear yet," Bennett said. "I still think there's another speed that she hasn't even tapped into yet."
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That statement has held true, for the most part, throughout Thomas' illustrious career. Until this season, and the emergence of Kelly Walsh sophomore Jerayah Davis, Thomas had not lost a race in her high school career. And she most certainly hasn't lost a race to a Class 3A competitor entering the start of today's Wyoming State High School Championships at Harry Geldien Stadium.
"I didn't think it would be something that I would do," Thomas said.
Bettering herself has been Thomas' biggest motivation over the course of her career. But she has appreciated her fellow 3A competitors, even if they weren't always pushing her in the time department.
Bennett added a story from the Class 3A East Regional meet in Worland last weekend. Thomas was challenged for the first 100 meters or so of the 200 finals before she kicked into another gear and ended the race before it was officially over. That was just a glimpse of what her future may hold at Wyoming, where Thomas committed in February.
in an effort to complete the four year sweep in the three premier sprinting events. But Thomas never thought she would be on the verge of that accomplishment. She remembered winning all three her freshman year and thinking it wouldn't happen again.
The Rawlins head track and field coach was talking with her senior star, Kereston Thomas, about how amazing the last four years have been. But then Steinberg relayed a story to her other athletes about when Thomas was a freshman.
Her college recruitment was similar.
Thomas, who is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ Latter day Saints, told herself she was "definitely" going to Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. She had attended camps at BYU, knew the coaches and the athletes, knew how they trained. And there was comfort level with the university and its LDS population.
in the bag," said Thomas, a Wyoming recruit. "I know that those girls are working just as hard as I am to get themselves better. And I know that for a fact because those girls have gotten better and so have I."
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She missed her mother, Wanda Thomas, and her sisters. Thomas said she felt alone and isolated as the only black student in school and disliked the relatively rural atmosphere. But she credits her father, Linzie Green, with making her stick it out.
"And all of a sudden we took her to a meet," Steinberg said. "And from then on, she never lost."
As a freshman, Thomas swept all three sprints (100 through 400 meters), then again as a sophomore . and again as a junior. When you add in a high jump title from her sophomore year, Thomas was won 10 gold medals during her career.
For many reasons, Thomas didn't run in the first four or five meets of the year the school play, sickness, family obligations but the coaches saw glimpses of Thomas' potential during practice.
But it did. And then it happened again.
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