Standing on the Amity football field surrounded by a few teammates, Shelton’s Thomas Kane looked like he belonged.
Minutes after winning the preliminaries of the 100 meters at the Southern Connecticut Conference East Sectional meet on May 19, Kane was smiling and laughing. He looked the part of one of the top sprinters in the state.
Yet this type of stuff is still new to him.
Kane grew up playing baseball, but for his senior year decided to trade in his cleats for track spikes. This past winter he joined the indoor track squad, mainly looking to compete and have fun with friends.
But what he found was instant success.
“In baseball they always put in pinch-runners and everything, saying I’m slow, I’m not the best kid on the team,” Kane said. “So I decided to run track and I when I started to run, I found out I’m much faster than expected.”
Kane finished third in the 55 meters at both the SCC indoor championships and Class LL before clocking an impressive 6.66 seconds at the State Open to claim fifth. He also was part of the 4×200 relay team that qualified for the New England championships and ran in the emerging elite category at nationals in March.
“It developed each meet and he just got better and better,” Shelton sprinting and indoor coach Jason Kymer said. “Even though it’s his first year he’s very focused and dedicated.”
It’s been a refreshing change for Kane, who went from being told he wasn’t fast enough to play baseball to holding three school records as a sprinter. Today at the SCC championships at Sheehan (1 p.m. start), he enters as the top seed in the 100, eighth in the 200 and will run on the 4×100 relay.
“It’s a lot of politics in baseball, that’s what I feel,” Kane said. “In track, the times don’t lie. If you run a fast time you’re good. It doesn’t matter who you’re friends with; time is the time.
“At first I didn’t even notice I was doing well. I was kind of running and getting times and then I started breaking records and noticed how competitive I really am.”
Added Kymer: “As soon as he broke our indoor 55 record, I think he developed some of that confidence and used that to keep pushing himself further.”
Kymer says Kane is so impressive in the sprints because of his starts.
“He has great reaction time,” Kymer said. “He’s quick out of the blocks, he stays nice and low.”
What makes Kane’s journey even more special is it gets to continue. Kane was offered a spot on the Central Connecticut State team and will continue a track career that is really just getting started.
“I’m proud of him,” Kymer said. “It opened up some doors for him.”
Kane just wants to keep getting better.
“I don’t think I’m near my potential,” Kane said. “If I really train, really start trying for track, I can drop a lot of time. I want to keep showing that I’m competitive.”