v Faces in KS: Grace Thompson - Sports in Kansas

Faces in KS: Grace Thompson

Grace Thompson of Sedgwick is one of the states top multiple sport athletes.
By: Sports in Kansas - Chet Kuplen
Oct 9, 2019

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Sedgwick High School senior Grace Thompson seems like she has been in high school for a long time to us at Sports in Kansas. That is probably because she has been producing since she arrived on the seen as a freshman in the fall of 2016.

Thompson, who stands 5-foot-5, is a three sport all-state athlete for the Cardinals. She has shined in volleyball, basketball and track & field for Sedgwick High School over the last three seasons.

She has earned at least an all-league honor all three years so far with this season still to be determined in volleyball as both a libero and outside hitter. She has school records in digs, serve receive passing and free ball passing records. She already has 168 digs and 101 kills this season with 49 aces as an outside hitter. Last season she racked up 553 digs and 51 aces as a libero earning all-state honors. Thompson also added 460 digs as a sophomore on the way to earning all-state honors.

Basketball may be her least known sport to the statewide audience, but she is a gamer. She has earned all-league three times in her career for 746 total points. With a solid season, one may think she would reach the 1,000-point milestone as a senior this year as a senior. Thompson was also an all-state honorable mention pick last season in basketball.

Finally, we get to the sport she is most known for and that is track and field. Thompson is one of the top athletes in the state in track and field returning for 2020. In fact, we remember people sending us tweets about how good of a thrower she was in junior high. Well that has certainly continued but not just in the throws. Thompson earned three all-state honors as a freshman in 2017 with a second-place finish in the discus, sixth place finish in the 100 meters and fourth place in the 4x400. Her sophomore season she took third in the state discus and fifth in the 200-meter dash to add two more all-state honors. As a junior last spring in Wichita, Thompson really put on a show. She took first in the discus, first in the shot put, second in the 100-meter dash and took sixth in the 200-meters.  It was one of the most impressive performances in all classes of Kansas last season at the state outdoor.

Thompson has PRs of 137-8 in the discus, 42-11.75 in the shot put, 12.41 in the 100-meters and 26.56 in the 200-meters. Her marks in the throws were among the best in Kansas last season in any class. Thompson, who is a spinning shot-put thrower, had one of the top throws nationally as an eighth grader, which is a lighter shot put (6lb) than the high school (8lb) shot with a toss of 46-06. Thompson, who may not have your typical throwers build as she is smaller in stature than most throwers, has incredible speed and is so explosive across the ring. The explosiveness you also see from her sprinters build as she dominates in the sprints in the spring.. She has about as good of technique as you’re going to see at the high school level in Kansas. It’s not often you see sprinters and throwers dominating in track and field. Kendra Wait of Gardner Edgerton, who is taller than Thompson, is another similar caliber of athlete that is very similar to that of Thompson in multiple events in track and field. Wait is also one of the top volleyball players in the country for 2021.

Thompson has been so impressive in track and field in multiple events that it landed her a scholarship to Kansas State University where she just committed over the weekend. Thompson plans to be a multi-event athlete and throw the hammer. Thompson also gets it done in the classroom with a 3.82 GPA.

For now, her focus is on the high school volleyball season as her team, led by head coach, Karen Stucky, is off to an impressive 26-1 start entering last weekend. The team returned seven varsity returnees off last years squad. Sedgwick has won league the last two seasons. They were ranked fourth in the last 2A rankings released last week by the KVA.

We caught up with the senior multiple sport star below in the latest Q&A edition of Faces in Kansas.

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This feature is presented by the Cardinal Backers, proud to support Sedgwick High School Athletics. Best of luck to the volleyball team and the rest of athletes this fall!

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Q&A w/ Thompson

How did you get involved in volleyball? I managed the high school volleyball team in elementary school and would pass to myself or serve and pass against the wall at their practices.

What are your goals this season? The obvious goals are to be league champs for the 3rd year in a row and to win state. Personal goals for me are to be are to just give it all I have for my last season.

Do you guys have a shot to make a run this year? We definitely have a shot to make a run this year. A lot of people doubted us last year because we had graduated so much the year before, so we surprised everyone. We’re just building on what we had last year.

What makes you such a force as a player? I think my versatility, communication, and competitiveness make me such a force player. I’ve gotten to play multiple positions on the court so that helps me read players on the other team and communicate to our hitters what is open. I’m also very competitive and have a lot of energy when I play.

What’s the atmosphere like to play for your school and town? In volleyball you don’t get as many home games compared to other sports, but when we do play at home we draw a crowd. We’re expected to be competitive every year and our crowd supports that. We have a committed student section as well. They come to as many games as they can and get really into it!

For anyone that hasn’t seen one of your games, why come to one? Other than the fact that we’re good and have good record I would say that our team’s love for the game shows. Our team plays with a lot passion.

Who are other key players on your team? I would say that each person on our team contributes in some way to the team’s success.

Favorite thing about volleyball? In my opinion there’s no better feeling than getting a pancake on defense. 

Do you play any other sports, tell us about that, what other positions do you play? I also play basketball and compete in track. I’m a point guard in basketball, but I’ve gotten to play other positions as well. In track I do sprints and throws.

What is it like to play for your coach? I absolutely love playing for Coach Stucky. She has high expectations for her players and has put Sedgwick volleyball on the map. She wants us to be the best players we can be, but cares about us a people too. She puts in a lot of time for the program and has a love for the game.

What did you and the team do in the off-season to become better? For me I just try to stay in shape and work on my weaknesses. As a team we all have weights and practice in the summer. Coach Stucky does a good job of trying new things in the summer to see if they work, so when the season starts we’re ready to go.

What interest are you seeing at the next level and what are your plans? I have committed to Kansas State University for track and field. Still undecided if I will throw the hammer or be a mutli-events athlete.

Favorite thing to do when you aren’t playing sports? When I get free time I like to chill out at my house and watch Netflix or go out to eat with my friends.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? I hope to have a family and be teaching and coaching at a school in Kansas.

Favorite subject in school, what type of student are you, GPA? I don’t have a favorite subject, but all of the teachers at Sedgwick do a very good job of connecting with students and making class fun. I’d like to think I’m a very organized student and am good at managing my time. I have a 3.82 GPA.

Who is your role model? I don’t have one specific role model, but there are certain characteristics of people in my life that I strive to be like.

Best place to eat in your town or the surrounding area? In my opinion the best places to eat in Sedgwick are Kilroy’s and the Meeting House.

One thing the average person wouldn’t know about you? Something the average person wouldn’t know about me is that I can look very serious and intimidating during games, but I’m the opposite of that outside of sports.