Alexa Harmon-Thomas has grown up in the long shadow cast by her famous father, Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Thomas, but 14 years after his death she is paving her own path to greatness.
Just a half hour from Kansas City, where her dad played all 11 of his NFL seasons for the Chiefs, Harmon-Thomas has established herself as one of the nation's elite female prep track competitors at Lawrence (Kan.) Free State High. MaxPreps put together a spectacular feature on the 18-year-old phenom.
"I am my own person, but I also think that it's an incredible thing that he was my father," Harmon-Thomas told MaxPreps Midwest prep reporter Conor Nicholl. "I don't think it's a bad thing to be known as his daughter, because he was a great person and an incredible athlete."
Harmon-Thomas was just 4 years old when her father died as a result of injuries sustained in a January 2000 car accident. Only four years later, at the age of 8, she set the national age-group record in the 400-meter dash with a time of 1:08.26 at the national AAU Junior Olympic Games.
That performance was only the beginning. Harmon-Thomas competed for USA Track & Field's World Youth Team at the 2013 IAAF World Youth Championships in Ukraine. She has won five individual Kansas prep championships, sweeping both hurdles events and the long jump as a junior last season. Harmon-Thomas owns the Class 6A state meet 300-meter hurdles record of 42.70 seconds.
A National Merit Scholar semifinalist, Harmon-Thomas has signed with the University of Texas and hopes to reach the Olympics as a heptathlete one day. Now, that's something any parent could be proud of.