Division Avenue High School senior Hailey Thomas is known for her raw speed. Whether it’s on the soccer field, basketball court or the lacrosse field, Thomas flies around her opponents, largely thanks to getting a start at a young age.
Since the eighth grade, Thomas has been one of the Blue Dragons’ stars on the soccer field. Being called up at such a young age, the experience for her has been rather different.
“It means a lot to me to know I was on varsity in the eighth grade,” Thomas said. “As an eighth grader, I was immature and new. It was awkward and uncomfortable for me Now, I’m a senior and I’ve loved playing soccer all five years.”
In 2019, Thomas, a striker, scored an impressive 14 goals on the season. Her ability to charge around defenders was so strong that she was selected to the All-County girls soccer squad.
“It feels great to be recognized, knowing all of your hard work matters,” she said. “You know you’re putting in work and people are seeing it. It’s not just your coach, but it’s all of them.”
Thomas’ leadership went well beyond the field, too. The Division Avenue student-athlete is known for catching on quickly, largely thanks to picking up tactics she’s learned over the years from her peers, many of whom she looked up to for the last five years.
“Hailey was a valuable asset to this year’s team’s success,” head coach Madeline Pagano said of Thomas. “She is a fifth year varsity player who will do whatever it takes for the best of the team. Hailey’s athleticism, speed and powerful shot lead her to score 14 goals and she was recognized as an All-County player. She is a fierce competitor, a role model to her teammates who leads by example on and off the field.”
But Thomas is not just a soccer star. She also plays varsity girls lacrosse as a midfielder and is a guard on the varsity girls basketball team. While the three sports might seem different, Thomas believes the skills intertwine.
“Playing all three sports makes me a better athlete,” Thomas said. “I’m using new muscles and I’m working out new parts of my body. Sometimes, you can contribute a new move in basketball to lacrosse, like a certain spin.”
Besides being named as an All-County soccer player, Thomas was also All-Conference for basketball and lacrosse in her junior year, and likewise for lacrosse the year prior.
Moving forward, Thomas is ready to end her time at Division Avenue and begin a new chapter in her life. She’s verbally-committed to play women’s lacrosse at New York Institute of Technology. And she already knows what she wants to study, too.
“I want to do physical therapy, like sports medicine,” she said. “If I pull a muscle, I’m always intrigued to realize what’s going on.”