After running 19:01 to finish second at the NJSIAA Non-Public A Championships three weeks after her last race, St. John Vianney junior Courtney Thompson was told by her head coach, Rich Agnello, she was fit with only four days until the Meet of Champions thanks to superstorm Sandy.
Thompson took Agnello’s words to heart, but still thought she was capable of somewhere between 18:40-18:50 on the short rest.
It turned Agnello knew what he was talking about as Thompson surprised even herself by running 18:28 to finish ninth on the vaunted state championship course at Holmdel Park.
“When I got to Meet of Champions and I saw sub-18:30, it was like a pre-Christmas gift, I’ll say that,” Thompson joked.
A monster effort in the season’s most important race capped a breakout campaign for the diminutive Thompson, who was steady throughout the season and left little doubt early on that she would be in the mix in every race she ran.
Her season began by winning the Monmouth County title at Holmdel Park in 18:56. According to Thompson, it was the first race she ever won and looking back on it, was arguably her most important race of the season as it set the tone.
Thompson followed that by finishing second at Shore Conference 18:00.95 before her runner-up finish at Non-Public A to her classmate and fellow All-Shore first team selection, Tara Connelly.
In Connelly, Thompson had someone that was on her level to train with day in and day out. That is a factor that cannot be overlooked when looking at Thompson’s resume this fall.
“She a great competitor,” Thompson said. “When we came to the same school freshman year, it was really a benefit because I had a training partner, she was my biggest competition and now we’re best friends. It’s really helped push to push me in the races, especially in the second and third mile when I really need it the most. I really appreciate her being there.”