Joshua Thomas flies in high jump with uncle on his mind

Published 6:38 pm Wednesday, May 5, 2021

When Joshua Thomas flies through the air in the high jump for Natchez High School at the MHSAA 5A state championship, he will do so with his uncle Dequincy Posey on his mind.

He said his uncle died about five years ago and was his best friend. His uncle’s nickname was Bird, and he saw a necklace a year ago with a wing on it and bought it. He wears his necklace at track meets and knows his uncle is with him every step he takes.

“Bird has wings, so the first thing I think about is him,” Thomas said. “That is the only person who goes through my head whether it be football, track or just playing around. That is who is pushing me and motivating me to be better every day even though he is not here.”

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His uncle is his motivation to keep striving and keep going every time he gets a chance. Football games or track meets, he said he thinks about his uncle being in the stands watching him compete.

Track season is both a fun and a serious matter, he said. His approach to the sport is to work hard. He also has fun in practices and meets. In the offseason from football, he would lift more than anyone else in the weight room and push his limits. Race day is calm, he said.

“It is not something I need to be worried about or feel stressed about,” Thomas said. “I know I have the talent to do anything. I can go far in whatever sport I play (because) I was blessed with athletic ability. I’m just calm. It is another day for me.”

Thomas is a junior at Natchez High School and plays football. He could be playing spring football but opted to compete in track because it would make him a better football player.

Bulldogs in bright yellow helmets and white and blue jerseys work in spring football drills about 50 yards from the gate to the track. Thomas looks over to the practice field to watch their progress. His football teammates support him from afar, and he supports them from afar too, he said.

“This fall football season is going to be amazing because of track,” Thomas said. “I feel like I have an edge on a lot of people because I’m running track. I’m a state contender in track, even though it is in the high jump. It still takes a lot of work and discipline to get to where I (am).”