As a rising freshman, Whitinsville Christian star Joe Thumann skipped All-States when he and father Joseph traveled to Mexico City to watch the New England Patriots play the Oakland Raiders.
Ironically, Thumann, now a senior captain, will miss what would have been his final All-State due to COVID-19.
And that’s unfortunate because over the past two years, Thumann, who resides in Sterling, has been nothing but sensational, if not dominant. The two-time T&G Hometeam Runner of the Year hopes to take his talents to Pepperdine, a private Christian university in beautiful Malibu, California.
The Waves’ cross-country program is coached by Sylvia Mosqueda.
“It comes down to my major, which is advertising,” said Thumann, who is also interested in Bucknell and Illinois but has his heart set on Pepperdine. “I’m looking for a school that’s going to take me places after my running career.
“Pepperdine, it’s looking like the most promising,” he added. “I have a strange rule. I don’t like the heat unless it’s on the West Coast. It’s probably all mental. It’s something with the humidity and stuff, but I’ll tell you it’s probably all mental.”
Thumann’s personal best on a 5-kilometer course is 15:29 while winning the Division 2 race at last year’s Twilight Meet in Falmouth — a time he brushes off because it occurred on a flat course. He set a course record (16:17.5) at last year’s Central Mass. Division 2 race at Gardner Municipal Golf Course, breaking the previous mark of 16:19 by former Newburyport standout Jack Carleo at the 2016 All-States. Thumann’s time was the best by competitors of either division.
A two-time CMass champion, Thumann returned to Gardner a week later to place third for the second straight year, in 16:21.
“I’m proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish,” Thumann said. “I could sit here and focus on the fact I don’t have the opportunity anymore to try and win states, but it’s important to me to enjoy being able to run with my team now.
“It’s ironic,” Thumann said of missing All-States for a second time. “Again, it doesn’t weigh on me because there’s always going to be big races ahead of me. It’s annoying because some of the big opportunities, the big races are closed. I try to put my best foot forward, and whatever that is, I’m happy with that.”
Thumann injured his knee over the summer and compounded the issue when he developed plantar fasciitis, but he is feeling much better now.
Last Wednesday was proof of that when he finished first while leading the Crusaders to a season-opening win at Valley Tech.
“I’ve been pushing through it (injuries) since the summer started,” the 17-year-old Thumann said. “I really amped it (training) up. I think it caused the knee to be inflamed. My knees are still a little aggravated, but I’m going to take it one day at a time.”
Call him crazy, but COVID-19 doesn’t bother Thumann as it once did.
“Back when the restrictions were more strict, it had,” Thumann said. “Now it hasn’t really affected me because of going back to school everyday.”
—Contact Steve Farley at [email protected]
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