Thompson the track star

Sophomore wows fans with records, achievements


Matt’s Photography

Thompson competes at the Lion Relays.

by Danya Risam-Chandi, Staff writer

Margaret Thompson, sophomore varsity track runner, set a national record at the Texas Relays on March 24 in Austin. She took first place in the 2k steeplechase, which includes hurdles and water obstacles.

Varsity track and field coach La’Boris Bean said it was Thompson’s second time competing in the event. In her first steeplechase, she took second place,  even without preparation or the right shoes.

At the Texas Relays, Coach Bean remembers watching from the stands, screaming over the rails at Thompson, “Go, go, go!”

He said he knew she was holding back and she didn’t know how much more she had left in her.

After that, he said, she took over the race. She took first place, her time setting a national record.

“I was definitely surprised on making the record,” Thompson said.

Bean said he definitely was not.

Margaret recalled five seconds after the race, the shock hit her.

“I remember being like ‘wow, that really just happened,’” Thompson said.

She gets into an elite zone like a lot of college athletes and that is not the norm. She’s already focused well before the race.

— Coach La'Boris Bean

Thompson has been running track since sixth grade, but started running long before that with her parents, especially her dad.

“I just can’t see myself not running,” she said.

Bean regards Thompson as a leader on the track team.

“Her race focus is just totally different compared to a lot of other runners,” Bean said. “She gets into an elite zone like a lot of college athletes and that is not the norm. She’s already focused well before the race.”

Anna Crook, a freshman on the JV track team who frequently practices with Thompson, said it’s obvious Coach Bean pushes Thompson to grow and improve as a runner, and she continuously meets his demands.

Bean also frequently tasks Margaret with leadership roles like motivating her fellow athletes. Crook remembers at her first race she was feeling nervous to run and Thompson reassured her with tips on pacing herself.

Bean first met Thompson when she was in seventh grade and he was hosting meets. He said his first impression of her was that she was an amazing athlete.

Bean and Thompson have a fun dynamic at track, joking around while at practice. Crook said Coach Bean spends less time with Thompson than he does with other athletes, as he trusts her to always do her best.

“She always tries to make a personal record in her races and usually does,” Crook said. “She’s just insanely talented.”

Thompson said track has taught her how to push on even when not everything is going her way. She admires Bean’s tendency to put his runners first.

Thompson said she hopes to be recruited for both track and cross country. Bean said he knows she will achieve that goal.

Her dad, who frequently runs with Thompson and is supportive of her track career, was there to see her win at the Texas Relays.

Margaret remembers being in the big stadium when they announced her national record and going over to hug her dad.

“It just, it was really a cool, cool moment,” she said.