Terp of the Week: Thea LaFond
March 16, 2013
Each week during the 2012-13 season a Maryland student-athlete, who has shown excellence on and off the playing field, will be selected as the Solomon Eye Associates Terp of the Week. This week's Solomon Eye Associates Terp of the Week is Thea LaFond from women's indoor track & field.
LaFond took 10th in the pentathlon last weekend at the 2013 NCAA Women's Indoor Track & Field Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. The sophomore was also selected as the USTFCCCA Mid-Atlantic Field Athlete of the Year.
By Katherine O'Toole | Maryland Media Relations Student Assistant
Thea LaFond showcased her impressive versatility this season with a remarkable six first-place finishes in five different individual events, and finished in the top-five all 15 times she competed.
The sophomore led the women's indoor track & field team to a strong fifth place finish at ACC Championships and individually qualified for NCAA Championships.
"What helped me excel this season was a stronger mindset and more work off the track," LaFond explained. "I clocked in more long runs to build endurance."
LaFond continuously dominated in the 60-meter hurdles, winning the event at two meets. She recorded her season-best time at Night at the Armory, an impressive 8.69. She also consistently excelled in the jumps, posting season-best marks in the high jump (5'11 1/4") and long jump (18'11 3/4") while competing in the pentathlon at NCAAs and the triple jump (42'4") at ACCs.
LaFond's impressive versatility stuck out most at ACC Championships, where she took home gold in the pentathlon. Her score of 4,111 ranks second best in Maryland indoor track & field history.
Having not competed in this event prior to ACC Championships, the pressure was on, but the sophomore rose to the occasion and handled the event with maturity and a level head.
"The way I saw it was that I knew I worked hard and if I gave it my all I would be fine," LaFond said. "I promised myself that no matter the circumstances, I would enjoy what I was doing."
Her first-place finish led LaFond to compete at NCAA Championships. In a field of 16, she took home a 10th place finish with a final score of 4,094.
LaFond was one of just two Maryland qualifiers for NCAAs. "It meant the world to me. Me making the NCAAs meant that all of my trainers', coaches' and personal work was paying off."
LaFond's continued success awarded her the honor of being named the USTFCCCA Mid-Atlantic Field Athlete of the Year for the 2013 NCAA Division I indoor women's track & field season. She was one of just nine recipients chosen nationally.
The sophomore holds an impressive five records in the top 10 of all women's indoor track & field athletes in Maryland history, four of which she recorded this season.
With the outdoor season approaching, LaFond looks to continue on with the momentum she gained in the indoor season and continue to drop time and push her jumping distances farther.
"My goals for the season are to hit 6'1 in the high jump, 20 feet in the long jump, a 2:16 in the 800 meter run, and 13 meters or higher (in the) triple jump."
As a sophomore, she still has more than two years left to compete, and five seasons of track & field. "After coming back from Nationals, I definitely have All-American titles as goals. I plan, with the support of my entire team, to only get better from here."
LaFond's ambition and dedication to her sport are easy to see. In the midst of her second season, her goals and sights for her future are impressive. LaFond's ability to set her mind on her goals has given her tremendous success so far.
"I don't really know what the next few years are going to bring me, especially my senior year in the Big Ten. Whatever does happen, I'm ready for the challenge."