Athlete Spotlight: Seniors Harleigh Thurman and Ethan Thornton

Athlete Spotlight: Seniors Harleigh Thurman and Ethan Thornton

The clock is rapidly racing to zero. The clashing of shoulder pads and loud squeaks on the gym floor fills up the atmosphere. He pushes back the opposing team from the end zone. She blocks the volleyball against the other team. The world slows down. He runs at the opposing quarterback, and she jumps up to block the ball. The clock reads three, two, one. Both the opposing quarterback and the volleyball land on the ground, Lindale wins both games.

Seniors Ethan Thornton and Harleigh Thurman have led their teams while they have been in high school. Thornton started off by playing pee-wee football for three years and Thurman started playing volleyball at the age of 4.

“[Thurman] just does a great job of hustling during practices, and she plays like she practices and she practices really really well,” athletic director Mike Maddox said. “ [Thornton] wants to win. He practices to win. He plays to win. There’s nothing about [Thornton] that you can take for granted.”

Head volleyball coach Jessica Dimsdle selected Thurman for this spotlight because of her positive impact on the team, an impact that is expressed on the court and to her fellow teammates. 

“Harleigh’s been my varsity setter for four years,” Dimsdle said. “She’s grown a lot on varsity, but she’s just an unbelievable athlete and a great leader for us.”

Thurman plans to attend TJC after graduation and attend Texas Tech after a year or two. However, she is not planning on playing volleyball in college.

“I love that volleyball is not an individual sport,” Thurman said. “It’s about a team, and you become closer with all of your teammates. That’s the main thing that I love because you find relationships that you never could ever find before.”

Like Thurman, Thornton started football at a young age, participating in pee-wee football. His family is the major reason why he is playing football today.

“When I was a little kid my whole family was into sports,” Thornton said. “I played pee-wee football for three years, and so I’ve been playing football my whole life.”

Head football coach Chris Cochran chose Thornton for the athlete spotlight for his work ethic. His attitude, presence, and impact on his teammates was also a factor.

“He’s a good leader for us,” Cochran said. “He cares a ton about our program, and probably the most important thing [is] the fact that his attitude is just so good. Every single day he has a smile on his face. He just always stands up for the right thing and always breathes life into people just in the way that he responds and talks.”

Thornton hopes to get a scholarship offer and plans to attend the college that offers it. If not, he plans on going to TJC for two years.

“The game teaches about life and just through the hard times just [to] never give up, and it’s getting me ready for the life [outside of high school],” Thornton said. “On the football field I might not like what my teammates are doing, but I still have to love them. I still have to work with them. It’s preparing me for life.”

Both players have helped lead their teams through the season this year and are looking forward to potential playoff wins as well.

“Both Harleigh and Ethan just represent Lindale High School really, really well in the hallways, off the court, on the court, off the field, on the field,” Maddox said. “What you see is what you get. They’re real. There is nothing fake about either one of them.”

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