EARLY — What has been a second home during her high school track and field career is now the future home for Early Lady Horn senior Trinity Tomlinson.
Friday afternoon, Tomlinson — the 2018 Class 3A girls high jump state champion and 2019 Class 3A girls 100-meter hurdles state champion — signed a national letter of intent to compete in track and field for the University of Texas.
“It's stressful but also a relief at the same time,” said Tomlinson, who is looking forward to adding to her high school state medal count with the start of track and field season on the horizon. “I feel like I found my new home and I'm ready to go, but I also have this last track season at Early, so it's back and forth.”
Tomlinson choose Texas over Baylor, where former Early Lady Horn teammate Tuesdi Tidwell — now a pole vaulter for the Bears — attempted to influence the decision.
“Tuesdi convinced me to go on an official visit at Baylor and she made me really love it there,” Tomlinson said. “I kept going back and forth, but I knew in my heart where I really wanted to go.”
Family and a strong familiarity with the University of Texas' Mike A. Myers Track Stadium — where Tomlinson won her state championships and also competed in the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays — ultimately won out.
“I've grown up going to Austin all the time,” Tomlinson said. “My brothers both went to UT so they live there now, and I've always been drawn to the color burnt orange. I really like the way Austin feels, it felt like home, and the track and the pit (at UT), it feels like a breeze competing there.”
As a sophomore, Tomlinson cleared 5-foot-7 in the Class 3A girls high jump to earn her first state crown — which followed up a silver medal performance as freshman.
“It’s just amazing because I wanted to show my coaches I could get first this year and bring back some hardware to the little town of Early, Texas,” Tomlinson said at the time.
Seeking a repeat in the high jump during her junior year Tomlinson felt short, but she rebounded with a gold medal performance in the 100-meter hurdles. Tomlinson finished the hurdles in a time of 14.93, edging out runner-up Kaydin Pursley (14.99) from Merkel, who defeated Tomlinson at the Region I-3A meet.
“It’s crazy, I never thought I would get a gold in another event,” Tomlinson said at the time.
Asked Friday if one state championship was more special than the other, Tomlinson said, “Not at all. They both have two completely different stories and backgrounds. They both mean the same and they were both a lot of fun.”
With a pair of state gold medals to her credit, Tomlinson wants to end her high school career on an even higher note — with two state championships in the same year.
“That's my main goal this year, to try and get two golds which sounds crazy, but I'm ready,” Tomlinson said. “I also want to get some more PRs. Last year I was kind of steady with the same height and numbers, so this year I really want to bump up my PRs.”
Throughout all the success Tomlinson has enjoyed in high school track and field, her fondest memories are celebrating those achievements with the ones closest to her.
“What I'll remember most is my family and friends, all the people around me, and that we got to do this together,” Tomlinson said. “That's the main thing — being around who I love and being able to do what I love.”