Two races down, two personal records shattered.
There isn’t a better way for Port Huron Northern alum Matt Thomas to start his sophomore season on Michigan State’s cross country team, and that’s exactly what he’s been able to do.
In the Spartans first race of the season, Thomas placed fifth at the Jeff Drenth Memorial Race on Sept. 2 with a 5K time of 15:23.
In Friday’s Spartan Invitational, Thomas went further and broke another record by running the 8K race in 25:30. After the kind of year he had in his freshman season, those two races also call for a sigh of relief.
“I was injured most of last year, so to run any (personal records) this time of year is good,” Thomas said.
At the end of last year’s fall season, Thomas suffered a stress fracture in his tibia. After trying to come back a tad too early, he reinjured his leg and had a setback. Really, he wasn’t able to run healthily until early July, keeping him on the sidelines throughout the later part of his first college season.
“It was very mentally tough because I wasn’t really injured in high school,” Thomas said. “To come here and only be injured it makes you have second thoughts, but I like what our coach stresses. He always says ‘Trust the process’ and I knew what I was doing was right.”
Today, Thomas is back to 100 percent and has upped his training to 70 miles per week – the highest it’s ever been for him.
While Thomas will be traveling with the Spartans throughout the season, one of the highlights has already come in East Lansing in a moment that hit close to home. After the collegiate race in the Spartan Invitational, high school teams from across the state raced throughout the afternoon.
One of those teams was Port Huron Northern, and for a second it may have felt like he went back in time two years.
“It’s a pretty cool feeling running and hearing your current coach, but also your high school coach (Craig Dickinson) cheer you on at the same time,” Thomas said.
It’s early to call a season a success, but with how Thomas has bounced back from injury, it’s certainly on the way to being a year to remember. While there’s still plenty of miles to be run, Thomas is happy today he is back out on the trail representing MSU.
“It was cool to finally be on the line wearing green and white with all of my teammates,” Thomas said. “It was just an awesome feeling.”