Mikel (pronounced Michael) Thomas stood out as one of the Huskers’ top runners in 2008 and will be expected to help carry the team in 2009. “Mikel is a very talented runner, who at times has looked like he could be one of the better runners in the Big 12,” Coach Jay Dirksen said. “His progress has been slowed by illness and injury but this summer he has run more miles than any previous year. Big things are expected from Mikel this season.”
Thomas opened the year with a sixth-place time of 19:19 at the Creighton/UNO Classic, followed by a 30th-palce showing at the Woody/Greeno Nebraska Invitational, running a time of 26:43.2. After placing ninth at the South Dakota State Classic, Thomas competed in his first Pre-Nationals meet, running a time of 25:33.2 to finish 181st.
The Clovis, Calif., native opened the postseason with a 33rd-place time of 25:21.8 at the Big 12 Championships, 32 spots higher than his 65th-place finish in 2007. Thomas then jumped seven spots from 2007 at the NCAA Midwest Regional, finishing 44th with a time of 32:25.3.
Thomas became one of Nebraska’s top runners at the end of the 2007 season. He started his collegiate career at the Creighton/UNO Classic where he finished ninth with a time of 28:33. After finishing 154th at the Roy Griak, Thomas elevated his game at the Big 12 Championships where he was the fourth Husker to finish and the 65th runner overall at 26:45.4. He improved even more at the NCAA Midwest Regional as the second Husker to cross the tape and 51st runner overall with a time of 31:41 on the 10K course.
On the track, Thomas qualified for the Midwest Regional in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. At the USA Junior Championships, he finished second in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a personal-best time of 8:58.67.
High School (Clovis)
Thomas was the 2006 California Division II state cross country champion and 2005 runner-up under Coach Rob Brenner. Thomas qualified for the Footlocker High School Cross Country Championships in San Diego, where he finished 19th in a field of 40 of the nation’s top prep cross country runners.
Thomas qualified for the California State Track and Field Championships three times in the 3,200-meter run. His best finish was fourth (9:04.56) as a junior, followed by a fifth-place finish as a senior (9:11.30), despite nursing a quadricep injury much of the spring. His personal-best time of 4:14.86 in the 1,600 was set at the 2007 Azusa Pacific Distance Meet of Champions. In 2006 at the prestigious Arcadia Invitational, Thomas ran a career-best time of 8:59.81 in the 3,200.
Mikel was born in Pensacola, Fla., on April 8, 1989. He is the son of Dennis and Yolanda Boyles, and has three sisters, Alyssa, Shayna and Katie. Mikel is majoring in sociology at Nebraska.