June 30, 2016

Partly cloudy

Lacrosse: Former Bee is an All-American

MEDINA — In the midst of a run to five straight Ohio Schoolgirls Lacrosse Association Final Fours, Medina’s girls lacrosse team has had its share of All-American players.

From Nikki Boltja to Katie Keefe and Sydney Thomas, just to name a few, the Bees have gained national attention.

Sierra Thomas

You can add Sierra Thomas to that list as the recent graduate has been named to the US Lacrosse Association’s All-America team.

“Just being at the All-American banquet (last month) and seeing all the kids that got it, puts it in perspective,” Sierra Thomas said of the honor. “It’s incredible to be one out of 11 girls in the state to get it.

“We’ve had some amazing girls at Medina get this honor.”

And like the stars that came before her, Thomas was a special talent helping the Bees goes 14-1-2 with another state appearance.

“It’s cool,” she said. “When I was a freshman, I knew who those girls that came before me were and as a senior I wanted to be that person who could put the team on your shoulders. This honor shows me that people have been watching.”

The versatile Thomas capped off her prep career in style. In the midfield, she had 41 goals, 19 assists, 65 ground balls, 41 draw controls, 41 caused turnovers and nine interceptions.

Along with her local accolades, which included first-team All-Ohio and All-District honors, she also was a standout in the classroom, being named to the Academic All-America squad.

“Being in the midfield, it made me feel like the leader because I had to know what was going on in the attack and on defense,” she said. “I liked it because if someone was struggling, I could help, instead of just watching.”

Thomas also has been a part of four state championships as a player, three in lacrosse and one in soccer, and while the Bees came up short in their bid for a fourth team title this past spring, she wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.

“I know the Final Four didn’t go the way that we liked,” Thomas said. “But so many girls don’t get the experience of what state is like. It’s something to be proud of and that you don’t realize until it’s over.”

Now, Thomas will embark on the next stage of her playing career at Baldwin Wallace University.

Her next challenge will be to try and help the Yellow Jackets — who will be entering their second year as a program this spring — create a culture like the one she’s leaving behind at Medina.

Thomas is ready for the task.

“It’s special, because Medina didn’t start out crazy for lacrosse,” she admitted. “I’m hoping that by playing there we can get some girls from around here and that they don’t feel like they have to go to a D-I school to be good players.

“The coach (Kim Russell) is so nice and to be able to play for her is going to be great.”

Contact Dan Brown at sports@medina-gazette.com.