Michelle Thomas is the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division I female state cross country champion.
Thomas, a senior at Glen Este High School, completed the 3.1-mile Scioto Downs Course, in Columbus, in 17-minutes, 41.5-seconds, 11.6 seconds ahead of the second place harrier.
This being the fourth consecutive year of qualifying for the state championship meet was of major assistance to the very hard-working, very-likeable young lady.
This is her second state crown. Last year she was state champion in the Division I 3,200-meter run in track.
The race came as a surprise in some ways and she, as always, modestly explained, "It was amazing. I was surprised to take the lead from the start and stay in the lead the whole race. I was very happy to beat my best time that I had made the week before by 18 seconds. I was really, really excited to go out and run that much better. I was excited with the amazing lead and then holding on to it. I'm very pleased to have such an incredible last race my senior year.
"I really am appreciative of my team and family and coaches who treated me like normal to help keep me calm. Anyone can do something if they believe in themselves and I got plenty of help. I felt good from the very beginning of the race. I was on an adrenaline rush the whole race."
Winning in her final state cross country championship race was the culmination to an incredibly successful four-year run that saw her fourth in the Ohio state championship races in Division I as a junior (18:19.82), second as a sophomore (17:57.02), and 14th as a freshman (18:33.27).
Michelle began her running career as a seventh grader.
"My dad and mom told me to try a sport and my dad inspired me. I came out for cross country and found out I liked it."
Angie Carson, head coach of the cross country program at GEHS was, herself, an Eastern Hills League all-star in the sport as a Trojan in the early 1980s.
She said, "It's awesome. She knew she had it in her. She's a great young lady. She's always been very consistent, always a strong runner. . .
"This year's state race she was really more focused and a lot calmer. After the first 800 (yards) she kept pulling away. She was the pace setter. No one was around her the entire race. . .
"She did better than even I thought she would. She believed in herself and worked herself hard to always do well. It was awesome. When she finished we were all so excited.
"She works so hard and is so deserving of this. She gave a hundred percent all the time. She is a great kid and a great student-athlete who comes from a great family.
"It was an honor to coach her. It means a lot to me to coach a state champion. . . She's the complete package."
Holly Schwalbach, the assistant coach, was a Clermont County League cross country and track all-star at Amelia High School from where she graduated in the early 1980s. She added "Michelle is especially excited about winning last weekend. She gave herself a birthday present. She'll be 18 this week."
Clermont County and Glen Este has not seen the last of the Thomas family on a 3.1-mile distance course, Michelle's sister, Jamie, is a freshman who was one-two with her sister in most of the Trojans' meets.
Said the older sister, "Jamie is an amazing little runner and so supportive in everything I did. She definitely helped me out."
The state champion also loudly and proudly thanked her coaches, Carson and Schwalbach, for their "support, leadership, and excellent example."
In conclusion of her superb career, Michelle said, "I want to be remembered for giving one hundred percent and always trying my hardest."
New Richmond was also represented at the state championships. Timmy Hall, a senior, placed in the finale with a time of 17:17.1. He, too, concluded an outstanding four-year varsity career in cross country.
"He has been one, if not, the, hardest worker I've ever had," said Rylan Shebesta, coach of the Lions. "He springboarded our (Southern Buckeye Conference American Division championship) team. He was a good example and leader. I coached him for four years and I enjoyed watching him mature. He'll definitely be missed next year."
Clermont County high school students, or residents, State Champions
1931: John Oester of Milford, Class B javelin throw (159-feet, 8-inches).
1935: Meredith White of Milford, Class B shot put (45-11.5).
1949: Leroy Smith of Batavia, Class B 440-yard run (51.6- seconds).
1950: Amelia baseball team Class B.
1958: Goshen baseball team Class B.
1964: Don Ogletree of Batavia, Class A 440-yard run (51.6).
1964: Lynn Beck of Batavia, Class A high jump (6-4).
1965: Don Ogletree of Batavia, Class A 200-yard dash (22.7).
1965: Dave Smith of Batavia, Class A 100-yard dash (10.1).
1966: Batavia boys track and field team Class A.
1966: Dave Smith of Batavia, Class A 100-yard dash (10.1). The week before he had established a new state record of 9.8.
1967: Amelia boys volleyball team Class AA.
1968: Amelia boys volleyball team Class AA.
1971: Grady Reid of Batavia, Class A 880-yard run (1:56.5).
1971-72: Gary Vipperman of Bethel-Tate, Class A cross country (10:03).
1972: Gary Vipperman of Bethel-Tate, Class A two-mile run (9:46.6).
1978: Ron Troyan of Loveland, Class AA wrestling (unlimited weight class).
1979: Steve Hansen of Loveland, Class AA wrestling (145-pounds).
1979: Mike Holcomb of Goshen, Class AA wrestling (unlimited weight class).
1981: Faith Baptist School (of Williamsburg), Christian Schools of Ohio, boys basketball.
1982: Dawn DeHart of Loveland, Class AA discus (135-0).
1983: Pat Evans of Glen Este, Class AA one-meter diving (455.70 points).
1983: Dawn DeHart of Loveland, Class AA discus (145-2).
1983: Dawn DeHart of Loveland, Class AA shot put (42-9).
1984: Pat Evans of Glen Este, Class AA one-meter diving (514.80 points).
1985: Donna Russell of Williamsburg, Class A 1,600-meter run (5:06.65).
1985: Donna Russell of Williamsburg, Class A 800-meter run (2:17.78).
1986: Donna Russell of Williamsburg, Class A 1,600-meter run (5:05.93).
1987: Larry Smith of Batavia, United States record 112-pound weight class (4-second pin).
1988: Goshen Christian Academy, Christian Schools of Ohio, boys basketball.
1989: Tina Silberback of McNicholas (Mt. Carmel resident) swimming 100-yard butterfly (56.09).
1989: Ron Perkins of Clermont Northeastern, Class AA 800-meter run (1:57.55).
1989-90: Milford boys golf team Division I.
1990: Paul Dunaway of Goshen, United States record, all weight classes, 14 consecutive pins, each in less than 30 seconds.
1990: Tina Silbersack of McNicholas (Mt. Carmel resident) swimming 100-yard butterfly (56.32).
1990: Josh Robbins of St. Xavier (Goshen resident), Division I wrestling 152-pounds.
1990: Chris Harvey of Glen Este, Division I 1,600-meter run (9:20.65).
1991: Tina Silbersack of McNicholas (Mt. Carmel resident), swimming 100-yard butterfly (56.10).
1991: Joey Calhoun of Bethel-Tate, Division II wrestling (130-pound weight class).
1991: Ben Bird of New Richmond, Division II discus (171-2).
1991: Tammy McCallum of Milford, Division I shot put (43-1.5).
1992: Tina Silbersack of McNicholas (Mt. Carmel resident), swimming 100-yard butterfly (50.31).
1992: Ben Bird of New Richmond, Division II discus (188-4).
1996: Milford Christian, Christian Schools of Ohio, boys basketball.
1998: Mark Slagle of Clermont Northeastern, Division II 300-meter intermediate hurdles (38.37).
2001: Betsy Jo Brockman of Williamsburg, Division II swimming 200-meter individual medley (2:05.49).
2001-02: Justin Fender of New Richmond, Division II boys golf, (four under par 137, 36 holes).
2002: Betsy Jo Brockman of Williamsburg, Division II swimming 200-meter individual medley (2:04.98).
2005: Judy Bataille of Felicity, Division III 100-meter dash (12:37).
2006: Milford boys water polo team.
2007: Catherine Humphries of McNicholas (Williamsburg resident), Division II 200-meter dash (12.39).
2008: Milford boys water polo team.
2010: Mic helle Thomas of Glen Este, Division I 3,200-meter run (10:46.59).