Damion Thomas has won numerous state titles and competed at the largest stages in track and field including the Carifta Games and the IAAF World U20 Championships. One moment still resonates in his head though.
"Last year I fell at World Juniors and was a horrid end to my season," Thomas said. "However, I've taken it as a lesson and overcome that obstacle mentally. I want to redeem myself on the international stage. This year, I've worked on my flaws and I want to get gold."
Not only does the LSU incoming freshman want gold. He wants the Pan Am Junior Championships record which also happens to be the Jamaican national record of 13.08 set by fellow countrymen Wayne Davis in 2009.
"This summer allowed me to get good one on one training with my coach," he explained. Mentally I am prepared and know if I execute, I will do well."
To prepare for the meet he didn't change up the training regiment. A typical week for Thomas consists of 3x110m sprints on Monday, hurdle drills on Tuesday and Wednesday, and blocks on Thursday. He adds that competing in the black, gold, and green is always a special feeling. While Thomas competes for Jamaica several of his South Florida friends and competitors will be in Trujillo as well.
"Its a good feeling representing Jamaica on the national stage," he said. "Although my florida companions are running for different countries I will still cheer for them and hope they have success. Florida is the fastest state in the country. We have the fastest athletes and we all know how to compete under pressure."
Speaking of pressure, Thomas notes having competed in several international competitions already helps to ease that when getting into the starting blocks. As for what happens this weekend, Thomas who won the Jamaican Junior Nationals and has the third fastest mark in the field with his 13.43 from Texas Relays, says a gold medal would definitely cap off a stellar four years before heading off to Baton Rouge.
"My coach and I had our last practice together this past Monday," Thomas stated. "I shed some tears. It's been a great high school career. Winning Pan Am Juniors would be the exclamation point."