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Gabby Thomas Inks Professional Contract with New Balance

Florence Flash
Senior sprinter Gabby Thomas will forgo her final year of NCAA eligibility, instead opting to train professionally as she finishes out her schooling.
Harvard sprinter Gabby Thomas has been described by many as prolific. As of last Thursday, she can be described as simply a pro.

On Wednesday afternoon, Thomas announced she would not be competing for the Crimson squad in her senior season. On Thursday, the tri-captain inked a professional deal with New Balance. The company announced the deal on Monday.While the sprinter will not compete for Harvard, she does intend to graduate from the institution.

“I was looking at other companies, pretty much all summer, and I guess New Balance heard that I was looking to go pro and they contacted me just one day,” Thomas said. “Their offer was really good so about two days later I went to their headquarters because they’re right here in Boston and I signed.”

Thomas is the third sprinter to join the team, and the only female. Team New Balance also features sprinters Vernon Norwood and Trayvon Bromell.

The deal marks the official conclusion of a storied Harvard career for the sprinter, one that has ended in multiple records in multiple events.

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In track, the spring semester is split into two seasons, indoor and outdoor. Each has its own set of Ivy championships, national championships and record books. Thomas has inscribed her name in both sets.

For the Crimson, Thomas holds the indoor record for the 60-meter dash, the 200-meter dash and the 300-meter dash. In addition to the individual events, the Florence, Mass., native was a member of the program’s fastest ever 4x400-meter relay team.

At her freshman year Indoor Ivy League Heptagonal championships, Thomas ascended to the top of the podium in four events. Taking first in the the 60-meter dash, the 200-meter dash, the long jump, and assisting her team in the 4x400-meter dash, the freshman put herself on everyone’s radar within the conference.

Thomas won — or in the case of the 4x400 meter, helped to win — the 60-meter, the 200-meter and the 4x400-meter relay for the next two years. In 2017 as a sophomore, she broke the program record in both the indoor 60-meter and the 200-meter. In 2018, she broke her own school (and divisional) record in the 60-meter. She was the first Ivy League sprinter to win the two individual events three consecutive times.

In both the 2017 and 2018 seasons, Thomas was named Ivy League Most Outstanding Track Performer. That’s just the divisional championships.

In the same 2017 and 2018 seasons, Thomas advanced to the NCAA Division I Indoor Championships in the 200-meter dash. In her sophomore year, the second year made Ivy League history by becoming the first Ivy League athlete to make an indoor sprint final. In the race, Thomas placed eighth — naturally the highest finish ever by an Ivy Leaguer. Thomas wasn’t satisfied.

“Last year I came in dead last in this final with a really bad race,” said Thomas in a 2018 interview. “So I spent all [this] year mentally preparing and focusing on the discipline.”

In 2018, Thomas returned to the national stage in the event. This time she left with gold, shattering the collegiate record in the 200-meter dash. The record had been set for 10 years prior by Bianca Knight of the University of Texas. Knight went on to win the gold in the 2012 London Olympic Games as a member of the United States 4x100-meter relay team.

In the outdoor half of the competition, Thomas almost always replicated the feat. The tri-captain has school records in the outdoor 100-meter dash, the 200-meter dash and the long jump. In addition, Thomas was a member of the program record holding 4x100-meter, 4x200-meter and 4x400-meter teams.

As she did in indoors, Thomas twice won Most Outstanding Track Performer at Ivy Heps twice. In 2018 she also won Most Outstanding Field Performer of the meet.

In her freshman NCAA Division I outdoor championships meet, Thomas broke her Ivy and school record to finish third. In the next two years, Thomas finished second and third in same event.

The freshman season concluded in the USATF Olympic Trials. The then-freshman was Harvard’s only competitor in multiple events, finishing sixth in the 200-meter and 26th in the 100-meter dash.

Thomas finished her collegiate career an eight-time USTFCCCA All-American and a 25-time All-Ivy League competitor,

“She is extremely hard working,” said assistant head coach Kebba Tolbert. “To go from where she started at to where she is now, I think demonstrates the quality of the groups she’s worked with and how she’s pushed herself and how they’ve pushed her.”

Dubbed “The Florence Flash” by The Crimson Sports Board staff, Thomas won the Year in Sports Female Rookie of the Year (with Ngozi Musa) in 2016, Runner-Up Female Athlete of the Year in 2017, and Female Athlete of the Year last year.

Thomas has beaten Olympians her entire career. Now she’s on her way to becoming one.

—Staff writer Cade Palmer can be reached at cade.palmer@thecrimson.com.

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