By Emily Eldredge
Photo by Kurt Johnson
Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!
Alright, so Weber High School track and field runner McKayla Thomas is no superhero, but anyone in attendance at the Davis High Track Invitational on Saturday, April 25, will say the comparison is accurate after watching her break the Class 5A state record in the 100-meter hurdles.
Of course, to those familiar with Thomas’ abilities on the track, this came as no surprise. Last year she took 4th in the state for hurdles and high jump, she’s set two meet records for the 100 meter hurdles, and she currently holds the Davis High Stadium record for 100-meter hurdles as well as her school record for both the 60- and 100-meter hurdles.
For the past four years, Thomas has a hurdler in track and field. She says she started track because she was fast, and it gives her a rush that leaves her feeling exhilarated.
“[In junior high] we didn’t have a strong sports team, so I tried out for every sport in high school and I liked track the best because of how free I felt,” Thomas said. “I guess that’s where I found my motivation. To be honest, I don’t really like running myself, but I like the competition.
“When I am running, I feel free to do the best I can and track is something I’ve found that helps me do that. I like the fact that it’s an individual sport and I can just push myself. I set different goals for myself, different times to hit, practice my form and get faster each time I run.”
Thomas describes breaking the state record as “amazing” and “life-changing.”
“It shows me that if I work hard enough, I can actually achieve my goals,” Thomas said. “Now that I know I can reach a low 14 seconds, I can push myself even harder and maybe even someday make it to the Olympics.”
She claims she owes this success to her coach, Richard Corbridge.
“Every time we practice hurdles, he runs beside me and yells at me and it makes me run faster,” she said.
Now that Thomas has broken the state record, what will she do next?
With her times now often hitting within the 14-second mark, she is very confident.
“Set a new time for the state record, just get faster and break it again,” Thomas said.
But after having just lowered the 5A record time for the 100-meter hurdles in Utah to 14.34 seconds, it’s a tough standard to beat. She can always shoot for the overall state top mark of 13.90 that has stood since 1986.