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Thompson strives for excellence in track, football
Over the years, South Whidbey defensive back and track star Chandler Thompson has taken some heat from his teammates on the football team.
He can’t seem to work up a game face. You know, where the guys growl menacingly for the camera in a group shot, as if to say to other teams: “We are bad, so watch out.”
He’s as tough, if not more so, than the next guy, yet seems to always be smiling.
“Why not, life is good,” he said.
And so it is. Thompson was part of the second straight winning Falcon football squad last fall, has a 3.7 grade point average, plans for college and a new girlfriend.
For his efforts on the field and in the classroom, the Snohomish County Football Hall of Fame recently nominated him and teammate Trapper Rawls as scholar-athletes of the year.
The plaque he received said the award was for his prowess in football, leadership in school and academic achievement.
Thompson moved to Whidbey just as kindergarten was starting and has been here ever since.
His favorite classes are U.S. history with Mark Eager and calculus from Andy Davis; the former is also his running coach, the latter, his receiver coach.
He has applied to the University of Washington and Washington State University with an eye to studying business. He finds a lot in common between the Great Depression and the current economic climate.
“In the 1920s, people thought they had more money than they really did and would speculate on margin on what they hoped would be a rise in stock prices,” he said. “Today, it’s all about mortgages and, if we aren’t careful, the result will be the same.”
His father, Falcon wrestling coach Jim Thompson, asked him to look at California’s Pepperdine University, but Thompson has a mind of his own.
“I don’t have the urge to move down there; I think Washington has pretty good schools,” he said.
Last May, he joined Hisashi Sanda, Eric Stallman and Jon Poolman on the 400-meter relay run at state finals. He hopes to be there again this year, and also wants to compete in the 100-meter dash.
“The two sports are totally different, but complement each other,” he explained.
“My speed is crucial in football, and coach (Mark) Hodson’s weight program has helped me on the track. But I have to say there is nothing like the adrenal rush I get in the blocks about to start the 100 meter. You can’t mess up, have to do everything right to be successful.”
Hodson remembered that he was impressed with Thompson’s skill and perseverance from the beginning.
“Once we converted him from cross country, we had him,” Hodson said. “And there’s a single-word play in our playbook: Chandler.”
When the word went into the huddle — Chandler — that’s all the team needed to apply a reverse hand-off pattern, taking advantage of Thompson’s backfield speed.
“Chandler’s just a great kid and now his brother Evan’s on the team as well,” Hodson added.
Thompson said switching to football was the best decision he could have made.
“I tried wrestling in middle school, but it wasn’t right. My dad was cool with it,” he recalled.
Eager said that Thompson has a great work ethic on the track.
“He really is tuned to excellence,” Eager said. “Always trying to master the skills he needs to be successful, showing up at practice every day, injured or not.”
Off the field, Thompson enjoys hanging out with his friends and listening to music; jazz, rock and techno-pop are his faves.
In fact, music is at the core of his senior culminating project.
He’s creating a techno CD, composing his own sounds through a software program on his computer.
“My presentation is about the creative process of writing music,” he said.
“It’s a little different than what others are doing, and that’s the point.”
Asked what he’d tell a future classmate asking about life on the island, he said the answer is easy.
“When you do something of value, everyone knows. When you screw up, everyone knows that, too. Life here is a double-edged sword. But pretty cool,” he added.
“One of my friends is from a big Chicago school, and he said he never knew the people in a single class, much less in the school. Smaller is better.”
Thompson began training for the spring track season this week.
“We’re going to have a terrific year,” he said.