March 1, 2024

Tavares High School Freshman Runner is a Rising Star

1.7 min read| Published On: March 1st, 2024|

By Kyle Coppola

Tavares High School Freshman Runner is a Rising Star

1.7 min read| Published On: March 1st, 2024|

Cheyenne Thomas 

In her first year of high school, Cheyenne Thomas, a freshman, has achieved significant accomplishments.

Following a commendable sixth-place finish at the FHSAA State Championships for cross country, Cheyenne embarks on the 2024 Track & Field season as one of the most promising freshman runners in Lake County.

Looking forward to what she can accomplish, she fondly recalls her first race in fourth grade.  

“As soon as I crossed the finish line, I felt like I wanted to do it all over again,” Cheyenne says. “It was love at first sight.” 

During middle school, Cheyenne joined the Red Sea Running Club. She was coached by Kevin and April Von Maxey, known for producing countless talented Lake County runners, Cheyenne being one of them.

Practicing six days a week, 52 weeks a year, Cheyenne dedicates weekdays to intense training, reserves Saturdays for racing, and designates Sundays for rest. Her grueling schedule is paying off. 

Last year, Cheyenne clinched first place in the 3,000-meter run at the middle school state championships, which marked a high point in her running career. 

Cheyenne says the Von Maxeys have had a tremendous impact on her, as have her high school coaches Brendan Curl and Charisa Watson. 

Still, she doesn’t shy away from acknowledging the challenges that come with being a young runner, citing mental blocks as the most significant hurdle. 

“If I am running and I start walking I realize I won’t get the results I desire so it’s about pushing through and not stopping,” she says. “When you feel your body getting tired you have to push through and when you do that it’s all worth it.” 

Her advice to other young runners is “to find a balance between running
and life.”

“Train as much as you can but enjoy family and other activities as much as possible. Only focusing on running can wear you down so I try and find a happy medium in between,” Cheyenne adds. 

Outside of running, Cheyenne enjoys spending time with her older sister Arabelle, a senior at Tavares High. She also credits her biggest fans, her mother, Carol, and father, Joe, for always cheering her on and helping her to succeed.

Her role model, Matthew Raucci, a former Tavares runner now competing with Clemson University, inspires her to reach for similar heights. 

“I see what he was capable of and he is so inspirational to me coming from Lake County and running for an NCAA Division 1 program,” Cheyenne says. “It makes me want to reach for the same goals.” 

Leave A Comment

About the Author: Kyle Coppola

Kyle Coppola was born in Newton, Massachusetts and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communications from Curry College in 2016. After traveling to Florida on a family vacation, he decided he could not get enough of the warm weather and made the move from snowy Massachusetts to central Florida 8 years ago.

For the last decade Kyle has gained valuable experience in social media content creation, marketing and sales, writing, video production, sports announcing and even broadcasting for local radio stations, such as FM 102.9 in The Villages and FM 91.5 in Massachusetts. Every year he volunteers at The Villages Charter High School as a play-by-play sports announcer for the football games as well as a public address announcer for the basketball games, including the annual Battle at The Villages Tournament.

Outside the office Kyle is a husband and father to two beautiful girls along with their cat. In his spare time he likes to spend time with his family, travel, play golf and swim. He is also a huge sports junkie and even bigger motorsports fan and loves to attend racing events when he can.

Share This Story!

Never miss an issue,  Sign up for the Style Newletter!