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Getting To Know Max Thomas

Oct 21, 2022

We sat down with one of USC's newest additions to the track & field team, sprinter Max Thomas. A California native, Max shares moments of tough decisions, future career goals, and interests outside of track in this installment of "Getting to Know".

Q :  I know you're from Long Beach, which is kind of a different vibe from L.A., what are some of the major differences you've noticed?
 
M.T.:  Long Beach is a little slower-paced and has more of a neighborhood feel whereas here it's always 24/7 go, go, go. There are parts of Long Beach that are kind of like here, but here all of L.A. is just always going.
 
Q:  Soccer was your primary sport for a long time…was there ever a time you were considering soccer over track?
 
M.T:  I didn't really want to run track in college until my senior year. The plan was to do both soccer and track, but I was mainly a soccer guy. But then track started to take off and I was talking to more big-time schools for track than I was for soccer, so I figured I'd focus more on track.
 
Q: When was the moment you realized "Ok I can really pursue track in college"?
 
M.T.:  Like I said soccer was my main sport and I really wanted to play. I was talking to smaller schools like Santa Barbara. And because of that, I was never training specifically for track. I would just play soccer until track season started and then go run. But my dad is a track coach, so he knew all of that stuff. So, I'm running fast and things like that and it was towards the middle of the spring of my junior year where teams would start calling and texting me saying, "Hey, we want you to run for us?" Then it was a long while of me thinking about, 'OK, do I want to do soccer? Do I want to do track? Or do I want to do both?' And it was a tough decision, but I eventually chose track.

Q: What other schools were you talking to for track?
 
 M.T.:  Yeah, I was obviously talking to USC, and then UCLA, Washington, Tennessee and University of Oregon.
 
Q: You know that UCLA and USC have a strong rivalry so what made you choose USC over UCLA?
 
M.T.:  It's funny because my dad ran track at UCLA, so that was always my dream school up until it was time for me to choose. And here I love the campus. It's a lot smaller, the people are super nice, the track team is better, the coaches are better. And I just feel like it was just a better fit for me all around.
 
Q:  Outside of the track team what stood out to you about USC?
 
M.T.:  Growing up I've lived not too far from here, my grandma's house is right down the street and my dad and I lived 10 minutes away. I've always passed the campus and saw it, but I never really knew what went down here because I was such a big UCLA fan growing up. And then when I quit soccer, I knew that their track program here was big, so when I looked into it more and came on my visit, it just felt like home. I felt comfortable, the people were cool, chill, it's sunny all the time. I just feel good here.
 
Q: You're a communication major correct?
 
M.T.:  Right now, yeah, but I plan on switching to psychology.
 
Q: Why psychology?
 
M.T.:  My mom is a marriage and family therapist and my dad is a track coach and when I'm done with track, I want to be a coach. I just feel like knowing the psychological aspect of things could help me be a better coach. I also looked at all of the classes I'd have to take for different types of majors and thought about if I didn't want to do track or didn't want to coach, psych classes would matter the most in terms of real life. Like, I don't want to take a computer science class because I know I wouldn't do anything with that afterwards. I just feel like psych classes have the most impactful knowledge.
 
Q:  If I were to ask your teammates to describe you, what do you think they'd say?
 
M.T.:  I think they would say that I'm a little bit of a class clown type of guy. I'm just always joking.
 
Q:  Do you hang out with your team a lot when you guys aren't practicing?
 
M.T.:  Yeah, I'd say the team itself is pretty tight, especially the freshman class. We go to the movies, the mall, just kick it. My teammates here are like my new family so it's nice.
 
Q:  Is there anything outside of campus that you enjoy doing or are looking forward to?
 
M.T.:  I haven't gotten to do much, but my friends and I went to this nighttime thrift/flea market and they had all sorts of clothing and food. We hung out had a good time and just kicked it. I'd say that was pretty fun.
 
Q:  If there was an artist that was coming to perform here that you haven't already seen, who would it be?
 
M.T.:  I would love to see Yeat in concert, but I've heard he's not that good. I'd also love to see YoungBoy in concert I feel like that would fun. But I'm honestly not really a concert guy.
 
Q:   Who do you listen to before a meet to get your adrenaline going and get you pumped up?
 
M.T.:  I have a few. So my favorite rapper is Kalan.FrFr. He's my go to. Yeat's in there, NBA YoungBoy's in there, and Lil Baby. You know, the normal stuff.
 
Q:  Do you have any hobbies outside of track?
 
M.T.:  For one, I love to play video games. I like 2K, Madden, and FIFA but I'm not that good at it.
 
Q:  Any that you'd like to pick up?
 
M.T.:  I love music. I've written some songs and my friends, and I recorded a song and put it up on SoundCloud my junior year. I'd love to do more of that you know, it just a fun process.