The famous wedding expression “something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue” derives from an old English rhyme.
On Jan. 5 in the Brighton gymnasium lobby, senior Andrew Thompson was about to enter a marriage with Carson-Newman cross country. The something blue was his new school colors of orange and blue showcasing the Eagles.
Joined by his siblings Katie, David and Harley C., Andrew was only missing his brother Daniel who lives overseas. Harley C. provided the something borrowed with Carson-Newman being his alma mater.
“(Andrew) bookends with our oldest child going off to Carson-Newman first to play baseball,” U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Harley Thompson Sr., Andrew’s father, said. “Now he’s going there to run. The oldest and youngest bookend with Carson-Newman. It’s a great feeling.”
The something old was a Thompson child participating in sports while attending high school all over the world.
“It’s huge because our five children are military kids,” mother Sara said. “They’ve lived all over the world. They’ve been in different environments and different schools. For us to complete it with our fifth one going off to a university, we’re very proud of that. We’re very proud that he has decided to pursue running, being that college athlete. That’s a big commitment and we’re very proud of him for doing that.”
Andrew’s something new was making Brighton High School history by being the first Cardinal cross country athlete to ink a national letter of intent.
“Andrew is a quality guy and you can’t beat his work ethic,” Cardinal cross country head coach Brian Oswalt said. “Every summer he’s out here on his own doing a lot of stuff getting ready for the season. He’s just one of the leaders we need to get the boys’ side started. It started with Christian Lucius and he got things rolling. Andrew is a 120-percent guy and according to all our records he’s the first boy to sign for cross country.”
Running all over the world as the youngest Thompson child, Andrew was happy to settle in Brighton and find himself.
“It’s been great,” Andrew said. “I love the cultural difference here compared to Germany. Just how kind people are, just randomly talking to people. It’s so awesome.”
When it came time for choosing a place to live in West Tennessee, the Thompsons had Andrew in mind. Sara noted they wanted him in a great learning environment and for him to have a chance to participate in athletics.
“Changing on how I focus on thing,” Andrew noted. “When I first came into high school, basketball was my main focus. As time progressed, I just gravitate more to running and setting goals and reaching them. I slowly became more involved and dedicated to running.”
While still a member of the Cardinal basketball team, Andrew has made his name at BHS running. His personal best mark in cross country is 18:07 and he took 24th place at regionals this past season.
“It’s taught me discipline,” Andrew noted. “Waking up some mornings, I do not feel like running. But it taught me how to push through struggle, adversity and the daily grind of it.”
Harley Sr. said life has equipped his son with the ability to handle any challenge like a three-plus mile run.
“In both of those as the youngest and being a military child, you always have to change and adapt. It’s a part of the nature of what we do. Whether it’s moving or different high schools making new friends real quick, you’re going to have to be leaving in a couple of years … That gives that resiliency to any person in the military that has to go through that. COVID is just another thing people have to go through. When you look at the military, we go through it. You just know how to handle things that come your way.”
Overcoming a global pandemic, adjusting to a new sport and creating a hometown, Andrew’s next challenges will also involve indoor/outdoor track.
“He really knows how to handle himself,” Sara said. “It shows in his academics and they’re top notch. Then it shows in his commitment to athletics with basketball, track and cross country. He’s stuck with it. We’re the type that don’t push them into any sports. We allowed them to pursue the sports they wanted to. If they want to or it’s something they desire to do and he’s made some great choices. I think all of that has prepared him to be a great success at college.”
Andrew said Carson-Newman was his perfect landing spot.
“I love the location in East Tennessee and the mountains out there,” Andrew said. “Had a great sit down with the coach out there and just a great overall tour of the college. My brother took me on a tour of the college. He was sharing all his stories and the times he had there. It was great.”
This fall will be the beginning of Andrew creating new memories in Jefferson City. His legacy at Brighton will always include his historic achievement.
“The idea of setting goals, meeting those goals and then pushing past them,” Andrew stated. “All my siblings did sports, so I naturally got into them. But the idea of a team and having that family there to always support. I hope (my signing) serves as motivation for the younger freshmen and gives them motivation to do that. It’s great to be the first one.”
Oswalt said Andrew is a deserving pioneer and the program will build off his achievement.
“We’ve got a lot of two-sports athletes around here and that’s what we thrive on,” he said. “We’ve got volleyball players who run cross country and we’ve got soccer players who want to get involved with cross country. Now we have baseball players who want to get involved and we want to build something off that too. Until you go to a meet, you don’t know what it is all about. It’s a different atmosphere and everybody is so positive. Even down to the last runner.”
Thompson shared some advice to his Cardinal family in hopes of them joining the college ranks as well.
“Increase the level of dedication it takes, I always thought I was doing enough running,” he concluded. “Then I talked to others and realized I wasn’t doing enough running at all. Always keeping an open mind of the workouts you’re doing and the running you’re doing. Always look for opportunities, if there is more running I can be doing.”
Thomas Sellers
Author: Thomas Sellers