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Hurdles champion Thomas staying motivated despite health issues, canceled season

Posted at 6:35 PM, Apr 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-09 19:35:45-04

OMAHA (KMTV) — Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic forcing the NSAA to cancel the 2020 spring sports season, Omaha North senior Nisa Thomas will not be able to defend her Class A girls 100 meter hurdles title. Thomas' time on the track these days is already limited because she battles glaucoma & thalassemia, a blood disorder that could make her more susceptible to COVID-19.

"I was very sad at first but then it turned into anger," said Thomas. "But then I knew I couldn't be angry because this is something that's out of everyone's control. So I turned the anger into motivation."

In 2017, Thomas was the only freshman to place at state in the Class A girls 100 hurdles coming in 7th.

"My freshman year I was like this is scary at state," Thomas said. "But once I got the gist of how it goes and how everything and met the competition and knew who was leaving their senior year, getting to know the overall flow of things, I was like this doesn't seem bad at all. Let's just go ahead and get it out of the way."

The following year, Thomas took 3rd.Then last year as a junior, won gold with a time of 14.61 seconds.

"Honestly, it meant a lot," said Thomas. "Because at first I use to doubt myself when going over the hurdles cause hurdles are scary when you've got a chance of falling. But it really meant a lot because I knew I could do it if I put my mind to it. My mom always tells me mind over matter. She's my rock. She gets me through it all. She actually helped me get through this because it's really been hard. There's been times when I've cried about it. And she would tell me God has a plan."

Nisa's plan now is to pick where she'll run in college between UNO, Doane & Hastings.

"I'm looking forward to it a whole lot more now that my senior season is gone," Thomas said. "Anybody that's running against me in college better be prepared because this big loss is really making me hungry."

Last August, Thomas came in 6th in the National Junior Olympics in Sacramento, California.

"It was an eye-opener because it was new competition," said Thomas. "People I've never ran against before. And people I ran against here didn't even make the cut so I was like wow I really can do this."

Despite not getting a chance to go for back to back golds, the homecoming queen still left her mark on the Omaha North program.

"I think they really look up to Nisa," said North head coach Shunta Paul. "A lot of times at practice they call be and like Nisa what are we doing? To not have Nisa be part of it is going to be pretty sad."

"We will truly miss each other and I'll stay connected with everyone on the team," Thomas said. "I just wish everybody luck and just stay safe and be healthy."