Aloha (Beaverton, Ore.) running back Thomas Tyner is considered one of the fastest high school athletes in the country. The proof is in his numbers — 10.35 seconds for a 100-meter dash, a 6A title and a state record to boot.
Last season, his impressive speed once again revised the record book — this time on the football field. Tyner ran 643 yards and scored 10 touchdowns in an 84-63 win against Lakeridge (Lake Oswego, Ore.).
Tyner is quick to say he doesn’t own the state’s single-season rushing record (really though, he does).
“I couldn’t have done that without the line and great blocking. This is something we achieved.”
While Tyner humbly sidesteps the attention, he couldn’t escape the spotlight when he was selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. And once again, his freakish abilities will be on display in San Antonio’s Alamodome come Jan. 5.
We quickly caught up with Tyner to dish on the behind-the-scenes hard work that helped him get there.
You’re gifted with tremendous speed. What has helped you protect it?
Tyner: I’ve been training with resistance since freshman year of high school. I do squats and definitely hamstring work. I do a lot of hill workouts — overspeed — down hill, uphill. I use parachutes, too.
On a circuit day, I do hills and 400s. For the last 100 meters, I’ll drop the parachute to get resistance. Running with a parachute feels like you’re running against really, really strong wind. After you take off the parachute, it feels like you weigh 50 pounds.
What’s the craziest workout you’ve ever done?
One year [for track], we started at 100 meters and worked up to 600 meters and had to finish within a certain time. Then we worked all the way back down from 600 to 100 meters. That was a long day — it did not feel good.
How has your approach to football matured throughout high school?
I started varsity halfway through my freshman year, and it was crazy. I was not ready at all. The guys where like five inches taller and 50 to 60 pounds heavier than me. I wasn’t ready mentally or physically.
It took until my sophomore to junior year to actually kick in. I needed more than speed — I needed strength and agility. I realized it was time to go to work. No more relying on my talent.
The older you get, the more you learn about yourself. What have you realized, and what advice can you offer to other athletes?
It takes a junior or senior season to actually grow up and realize what you have to do to perform at a high level. Learn to take better care of yourself. Make better decisions nutrition- and health-wise, and stretch and ice. You have to do what’s best for you. You want to think long term — not short term.
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Check out this video of fellow elite RB recruit Derrick Green.