Michelle Thomas, a Glen Este High School junior, finished fourth in the Division I state championship cross country race. The 5k run took place at Scioto Downs, Columbus.
Thomas completed the run in 18-minutes, 19.82-seconds. The top three finishers were, in order, Meredith Wagner, Sylvania Northview senior, 18:03.90, Madeline Chambers, Rocky River Magnificat senior, 18:07.35, and Hannah Neczypor, North Royalton junior, 18:15.30.
This season marks the third consecutive year that Thomas well-represented Glen Este and Clermont County in the state championship showdown.
Her sophomore year she was runner-up in 17:57.02. The victor was Brooklyne Ridder, Oak Hills High School senior, in 17:51.36.
"Michelle had a great year. She was unbeaten all the way to the state meet," said Angie Carson, Glen Este head girls and boys cross country coach.
"She ran a good race that day. It was race between five of them and it was close almost to the end."
"It was a very, very exciting year. A lot of fun," said Thomas. "I have to admit I'm very proud of myself for making some of my goals this year."
The talented harrier explained that some of the goals she achieved included "always wanting to beat my previous best (time) at a meet...winning as many meets as I could...finish among the top five in the state."
The only loss she absorbed all season was the state championship race. Thomas explained that that the windiness of the course created some concern.
Carson is assisted with her coaching duties by Holly Schwalbach. Both were outstanding distance runners during their prep careers at Glen Este and Amelia High schools, respectively.
"The coaches do a lot of extra stuff for me that they don't have to do. They always know the right things to say and do,"
Next in line for the daughter Mike and Sharon Thomas will be indoor track.
"I'm going to be running indoor track this winter at Cedarville (University) and Bowling Green (State University)," she said. "For track my goal is to make state again in the two-mile or the mile."
There is only one goal yet unachieved for Michelle in cross country.
"Next year I'm going to win at state," she said.
Only two Clermont countians have finished higher thann Thomas, the county's most successful distaff runner, on the state cross country level.
Bethel-Tate's Gary Vipperman (coach Dave Moore) was Class AA state champion during the 1971-72 season and Amelia's Frank Molitor (coach Ken Stewart) was Class AA state runner-up during the 1966-67 campaign, the same school year he completed the Boston Marathon course.