During an event usually accustomed to mid-March sunshine, the 2013 Oregon Preview was instead filled with grey skies. TrackTown USA was cold and windy throughout most of the event, but there was a lone moment in which the sun came out to tease the home crowd of 4,402 for just a little while.
Star football running back De’Anthony Thomas competed in his final event of the day in the 200 meters. He would go on to win in convincing fashion, with a time of 21.17 as the crowd gave a standing ovation.
It was only fitting that the sun came out during his final race, and it was as if he himself brought it out. He awarded his fans with some warmth on their backs as both the fans and runners began to warmup to a new outdoor season.
DAT won all three of his events on Saturday, completely dominating his pool of competitors. Beginning with the 4×100 meter relay, he, Dior Mathis, B.J. Kelley and Arthur Delaney came out with unmatchable speed and simply cruised to an easy 40.35 time. Running last in the relay, he simply capped off an amazing race start by teammate Kelley, and it was a nice start to the Oregon Preview as a whole.
“It was a great finish, and it really got our team going and our momentum going,” Thomas said. He then won and recorded a personal record in the 100 meters with a time of 10.31 — also good for the meet record.
After winning the other two races and the 200 meters, he ran a complimentary lap for the fans.
“I feel pretty good,” he said at the end of the day. “It was a great day to come out and run and celebrate with my team and have fun. It feels just like being at Autzen Stadium where the crowd is going wild after scoring touchdowns. It’s great for our track team and our fans.”
In regards to his improved speed and ability, he claims that his weight has remained the same since football season and that he merely added muscle.
“Right now, I weigh in at 169, but I just feel like I got a lot stronger in the weight room,” he said. “It’s not really about putting on weight, it’s just getting more muscle.”
When a reporter asked if his secret had something to do with cutting down on the Dairy Queen, Thomas jokingly answered with, “Something like that.”
He not only looks fit, but he looks stronger. He is looking good in the early goings of this season, and he might actually be in the best shape of his life. As an early leader for this Ducks’ team, he definitely has the potential and ability to become a great runner, but in the end result, it will come down to whether or not Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich decides to allow him to continue his career in track or not.
“College football is great, but I feel like college track is really fun and just being out here with all this competition is really great,” said an enthusiastic Thomas.
Whether it be coaching his YMCA team to victories, winning races on the historic Hayward Field or scoring touchdowns for the Ducks, he will continue to entertain fans. He has become one of the most recognizable athletes in town, and it will be exciting to see where his talents in the realm of track and field will take him. I guess there is a home in TrackTown USA even for the “Black Mamba.”