Westlake’s Alcorn headed to Houston
Westlake senior eager to run under former Olympian Lewis
Thomas Alcorn did not start running track until the age of 12.
Six years later, he will have the opportunity to run for former nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis at the collegiate level.
The Westlake High School senior sprinter made his college decision final, recently signing his national letter of intent to run at NCAA Division I outfit University of Houston for the men’s track and field team, who competes in the American Athletic Conference.
Alcorn, who had a signing ceremony on May 17 in the Westlake auditorium, is eager to train under Lewis, Houston’s assistant coach and former worldclass sprinter, and head coach Leroy Burrell, both alma maters of Houston.
“I didn’t know what track was until the sixth grade,” said Alcorn, who was one of 10 Westlake student-athletes to sign or commit to college for a sport on that day. “I never expected to run under an Olympian, it never came to thought. It is just a blessing to be in this position and continue to run track at the college level.”
Alcorn had other Division I interests from Duquesne University (Pa.), University of South Alabama, University of Maryland, University of Pennsylvania and University of Massachusetts. But after going on the official visit to Houston last November he felt it was the right place.
He specializes in the 400-meter dash where Houston recruited him for, but will compete the 100, 200 and relay events to help build him up for the next few years with the Cougars.
“It is just an amazing school and right in downtown Houston,” said Alcorn, who has family in Dallas. “The weather is hot all year long. It will be amazing to be coached by two former Olympic runners. They can lead me into the right direction of developing me in college.”
Lewis, who competed in the 100, 200, long jump and 400 relay throughout his track career, was a 10-time world championship medalist. During his two years at Houston, Lewis was a six-time All-American, won six national championships and
nine individual conference titles.
He first watched Alcorn during the AAU Junior Olympics in Houston last summer when he clocked a time of 47.79 seconds, his personal best in the 400.
“We have one of the top programs in the nation and we’re excited to have Thomas. He fits in our mold of developing quarter-mile runners,” said Lewis, who is in his third year on coaching staff at Houston. “When mother [Marye Priest-Alcorn] got in touch with me and I met Thomas, he had a great attitude and he has the ability to grow.”
Lewis and the Houston coaching staff plans on helping Alcorn reach his goals in college and post-college.
“Most athletes have their best performances post-collegiate, so when he gets to Houston it is all about development and helping him be the best student in the classroom,” Lewis said.
Under the direction of Westlake head track and field coach Beth Shook and
assistant Adano Murray, Alcorn capped off his high school career as he claimed his second straight Class 2A state outdoor title in the 400 in 48.74 seconds on Saturday at Morgan State University in Baltimore. He helped lead the 800 and 1,600 relay teams to state crowns and finished third in the 200. Westlake’s boys team took second in the meet, falling to Century of Carroll County by 2 1/2 points, just missing a three-peat of state gold.
Alcorn helped the Westlake boys squad to back-to-back outdoor state titles in his sophomore and junior seasons and to an indoor state crown as a junior.
He also was a two-time state runner-up in the 500 in indoors.
“It was a great ride in high school track, coach Shook and coach Murray helped build me so much in my career,” Alcorn said. “My goal is to improve on my craft and get ready for the stiff competition in college.
This season, Houston men’s track swept the indoor and outdoor conference titles for the second straight season.
Westlake High School senior sprinter Thomas Alcorn signed his national letter of intent on May 17 to the University of Houston to run for the men’s track and field team. Alcorn captured his second straight Class 2A outdoor state crown in the 400-meter run on Saturday at Morgan State University in Baltimore. He also was a two-time state runner-up in the 500 indoors.
Westlake High School senior Thomas Alcorn signed his national letter of intent to run track at NCAA Division I University of Houston. Seated in the front row, from left, are Alcorn’s older sister Asya Anderson, Thomas Alcorn and Alcorn’s mother Marye Priest-Alcorn. In the back row are Westlake assistant track and field coach Adano Murray, left, Westlake strength and conditioning coach Marlon Curtis, Alcorn’s older sister Briana Alcorn, Westlake assistant track and field coach Brian Wells, Westlake head track and field coach Beth Shook, Westlake athletic director Dominic Zaccarelli and Westlake Principal Michael Meiser.