There’s building a team and then there’s what Beaumont United High track and field coach Branden Thomas is looking to do with the Timberwolves in their first season.
With all the extensive damage done to Central High, the coach’s old stomping ground, by Tropical Storm Harvey, the decision was recently made to combine the campuses of Central and Beaumont Ozen High, leaving Thomas with the job of suddenly merging the two programs into a cohesive unit for Beaumont United.
Thomas told Texas Scorecard he’s confident he and his men are up to the challenge based on their adoption of one simple rule.
“We talk about there being no favorites, and the fastest guys and the guys that are working the hardest being the ones who get the first chance to compete,” he told Texas Scorecard. “We’re all in this together, and we’re looking to be the best unit we can be.”
Thomas said it starts with the talented trio of sprinters James Wilson (100, 200 and 400 meter relay), Harrison Seals (200, relay teams) and Tyran Pier (200, 400 meter relay).
“James is a football player who has explosive speed,” Thomas said. “We’re just working with him to learn how to transfer it from the from the football field to the track arena.”
Thomas considers Seals to be one of the Timberwolves’ most versatile performers and Pier as arguably their best leader.
“They’re both seniors who have been around for a while and they know what it takes to reach the goals we’ve set for ourselves,” Thomas added.
Meanwhile, senior Jessie Davis will be spending his first season under Thomas’ tutelage after coming over from Ozen.
“He’s a special talent,” said Thomas, adding that he envisions teaming him with fellow senior Robert Thibodeaux to give the Timberwolves one of the most potent 400 meter relay teams around. “If we continue to work hard, there’s no reason why we can’t have a special year, compete for a district title and send more than a few guys to the state tournament.”
Over their first two meets this season, the Timberwolves have looked the part, medaling in a couple races in both events.
“Sure, it’s been an adjustment,” Thomas said. “But we’re coming along. Last year, we had kids that had to run all kind of races to give us a chance. Now, our versatility is that our kids are fresh and ready to go wherever we plug them in.”