- Special Sections
- Public Notices
Not long ago, I was going through some papers in my desk and came across a thank you note from a high school athlete.
It hit home this week with the stunning news of the death of former Indian Land High School star wrestler Thomas Harris.
The note was from Thomas, who was as much a good student and person as he was an ace athlete. Thomas died last Saturday following a motorcycle accident.
Thomas had quite a career at ILHS where he earned eight varsity letters playing four different sports – wrestling, football, golf and cross country.
Thomas’ words in the note were simple and to the point, thanking me for the coverage in his Warriors’ career.
In my career at the News, I’ve received my share of letters and cards of thanks, but few have come from guys. Some, but not many.
That says a lot about Thomas. He was that rare individual who was blessed with athletic skills, intelligence and leadership qualities at a young age.
Much of that was the fact he was the product of a loving family, which included his parents, Pete and Vickie, and sisters Autumn, Jean Marie and Hannah. Jean Marie and Hannah, like Thomas, starred in sports and in class at ILHS.
Vickie, for many seasons, kept the scorebook for IL Lady Warriors’ basketball games in which Jean Marie and Hannah were often among the high scorers.
If she wasn’t at the scorer’s table, then she, Pete and their daughters were following Thomas in a stellar wrestling career, 130 wins, including 86 pins. In Thomas’ senior season, the Warriors set a school mark for wins in a season, 21. He was 43-8 with 30 pins.
Thomas was a three-year all-region wrestler and captained the IL team in his final two seasons. He capped his career as a Lower State champion and placed fourth in the state.
Those numbers are most impressive, but there’s something else I recall about Thomas.
I remember one spring seeing Jean Marie and we talked about the upcoming IL prom.
I asked who she was taking. She told me Thomas. You don’t see that much, but it just shows how close they were.
Thomas was a rare individual who could find success in most anything he pursued. By the way, he was also an Eagle Scout.
He had good guidance at home and also at school.
His Warriors’ wrestling coach was of course, the late Mike Kersey, who died last fall from injuries in an ATV accident.
The irony is that they were so much alike – smart, competitive, true gentlemen of deep faith.
Wrestlers like Harris are how coach Kersey built his Indian Land program into one of the state’s best. Harris, like Kersey, gave it all he had. They, as is said of the total effort, left it on the mat.
Thomas, after his IL graduation, attended the U.S. Naval Academy and did well, but he returned home last spring to be close to his family.
His USNA classmates at thefuneral Wednesday said it was the happiest they had seen Thomas.
Now, Thomas is Home reunited with his coach. I can only imagine the wide smiles they traded not long after his heavenly arrival and meeting his Savior.
Then, Kersey probably told Thomas he was just in time because he needed somebody in his weight class. Seems like I recall hearing thunder Saturday night.
Next time, you hear a rumble from above, smile because you will know Thomas Harris is truly Home.