by Lou Ponsi
Photo Credit: Mark Rightmire
MISION VIEJO — Servite’s Max Thomas is one of the top sprinters in the state, and under normal conditions he would have competed in four events at the Orange County Championships on Saturday at Mission Viejo High School.
But the junior also plays soccer for the Friars, who had a CIF-SS Division 1 playoff game against Long Beach Poly on Saturday afternoon.
Thomas made the best of the situation, winning the 100 meters and anchoring the Friars’ 4×100 relay, which also finished first.
Thomas would have also competed in the 200 and 4×400 relay but he had to leave the meet early to join the soccer team for its 3 p.m. game at the Great Park in Irvine.
“I’m ready to win that too,” Thomas said. “We’re looking to have a deep, deep CIF run.”
Thomas started the day by winning the 100 in 10.81 seconds.
In the 4×100 relay, Servite was in third place when Thomas got the baton from Brad Riehl and sprinted past Tesoro and Aliso Niguel runners to cross the line first in 42.64.
“I like taking the baton when I’m behind so I run faster,” Thomas said.
If the Friars’ soccer team continues to advance through the playoffs, future conflicts between the sports are possible, Thomas said.
“Right now, we’re not worried about that,” Thomas said. “We’re just trying to do our best in both.”
For the second week in a row, the anticipated showdown between Thomas and Mater Dei’s Domani Jackson didn’t take place.
Jackson, who also plays football for the Monarchs, didn’t compete in last week’s Arcadia Invitational because of soreness in his leg and wasn’t on the starting line for the 100 on Saturday.
“Hopefully, we’ll get to race each other later, so that will be cool,” Thomas said.