Kaylee Thompson tried something new this spring: track.
The Classical Academy senior decided to join the track team, despite having no experience in the sport and playing soccer at the same time. Six months and two individual 3A state titles later, Thompson has no regrets. And Tuesday, her athletic accomplishments were honored as she was announced as the 2018-19 Gazette Preps Female Peak Performer of the Year.
"I was so excited when I found out," Thompson said. "I was so surprised. I was like, 'How could that be me?'"
Thompson's coach at TCA, Alan Versaw, wasn't surprised at all.
“They couldn't have picked a better person,” Versaw said. “She's an outstanding kid to work with and an extraordinary athlete. She brings a whole different mindset to the contest.”
Thompson was recognized at The Gazette’s annual Peak Performers banquet in Colorado Springs, but was unable to attend as she was on vacation with her family.
It’s been a balancing act for Thompson for much of her athletic career, after deciding to join the cross country team her junior year on top of playing basketball and soccer. In her first season on the cross country team, she finished 10th at the state meet. This year she finished first and led TCA to its first team title since 2012.
Thanks to her quick rise on the cross country team, Thompson earned a scholarship to run track at BYU. Thompson fell in love with running, but knew if she wanted to find similar success at the college level, she had to train even harder.
"It was hard. There was never a break," Thompson said. "It was really my coaches who made the difference in me joining the track team and allowing me to do both."
So her senior year she joined the track team, while also continuing to play soccer.
“I don't want to say it's never been done, but I know it's quite difficult,” Versaw said. “What I knew from her from cross country, I knew if anyone could do it, it would be Kaylee. It was a lot of unknown for me, but she had the mindset for it and was ready.”
Thompson’s lone track season was filled with achievement, winning individual state titles in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter races. She helped the TCA women’s team finish second.
While her track career has been short, Thompson’s recent past proves her future in the sport at BYU is promising.
“The sky's the limit,” Versaw said. “There's a lot of untapped potential there and who knows where it goes from here.”
Lewis-Palmer’s Joel Scott was named The Gazette Preps Male Peak Performer of the Year, and he and Thompson will throw out the first pitch at a Rocky Mountain Vibes game this season.