Emily Thomas Ready To Make Bulldog Track History Thursday
AUSTIN, Texas - Gonzaga University redshirt sophomore Emily Thomas makes Gonzaga track and field history Thursday when she becomes the inaugural Bulldog to compete in the NCAA Western Regional being held at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the University of Texas campus.
Thomas, a redshirt sophomore from Washougal, Wash., is seeded 36th in the 48-person 10,000 meters field that will take the top 12 finishers to the NCAA Track and Field Championship June 6-9 in Des Moines, Iowa. She qualified in early April with a school record time of 35:01.46 at the San Francisco State Distance Carnival.
Heat and humidity can always be a factor this time of year in Austin, although neither should be stifling when the event begins at 9:40 p.m. CDT (7:40 p.m. PDT). The high Thursday in Austin is expected to be around 93 degrees with humidity at 65 percent, but by race time the temperature should be in the low 70's.
"The heat and humidity she handles pretty well," Ley said. "The biggest thing will be her warm-up, keeping her core temperature down. We have a couple of tricks from high school folks we learned to keep the core temperature down. Historically what they've done if it's over a certain heat index they put a mister out on the track and potentially have a water station if necessary."
Ley said it will be a tactical race.
"What tends to happen is it is very relaxed, a large pack for half or three-quarters of the way. You'll see some people become very aggressive and you'll see group of 12-20 break and if we can get her to pull off that for a little bit that would be awesome. If she holds, terrific, if we get a couple of laps out of her it would very good for her to experience that and feel that. Once the pack is pretty solid with 12 it might slow down again. You'll especially see that with the top five runners. It will be a tactical race."
Thomas and assistant coach Patty Ley arrived in Austin Tuesday and light workouts Tuesday and Wednesday.