Drew Thompson has worked a long time at getting fast. This past Saturday, he raced to a 10th-place finish at New York’s Van Cortlandt Park to qualify as a Northeast representative in the Footlocker National Championships to be held Dec. 10 in San Diego’s Balboa Park.
Thompson, a sixteen year old Trumbull resident, will join 39 top male high school runners from around the country for the event. His journey to California has been over ten years in the making.
A junior at Fairfield Prep, Thompson’s cross country season has been highly successful and remarkably consistent in a sport rife with injury and bad days. Undefeated in dual meets this season, Thompson won the Wilton Invitational by over half a minute, at one point, passing the lead cart that couldn’t keep up with his closing pace. He also won the prestigious Woods Trail Run in Thetford, Vermont but there he had to battle down to the wire, eking out victory in a desperate sprint finish to win by .004 seconds.
After winning his second consecutive SCC Championship, Thompson came in second to senior, Zakeer Ahmed of Staples at both the LL and the State Open Championship. On both occasions, the two harriers were separated at the line by a single second.
Although, Thompson did not begin racing for Prep until after his freshman soccer season, he has run competitively since his first 5K at 6 years old. Throughout his athletic career, which includes years of AYSO & Trumbull United soccer and Trumbull Youth Lacrosse, Thompson always loved to run, logging countless hours on the trails in Indian Ledge and Old Mine.
That commitment to going long distances has increased under the tutelage of Prep coaches Bob Ford, Jr and Bob Ford, Sr. Over the course of this cross country season, Thompson regularly logged 60-65 mile weeks including track workouts and races.
For the Fords, Thompson is the fourth runner they’ve had qualify for the Footlocker event.
With the cross country season ending with his race in California, Thompson will turn his attention to the track, where last year he ran 9:13 in the 3200, good enough for 7th place in New England and the 13th fastest time for an American High School sophomore in 2016 (according to Milesplit.com).
Further down the road, Thompson’s looking at where to study and compete in college and is considering a wide range of options from the Ivies to NCAA cross country powerhouse, Northern Arizona University.
Wherever he lands, he’ll do so on the run.