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Q2 AOW: Adversity leads Billings Senior’s Abby Thompson to Midland Roundtable scholarship

Abby Thompson
Posted at 8:15 PM, May 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-15 22:29:21-04

BILLINGS — The difference in muscle mass was clearly noticeable. Abby Thompson's left leg needed work.

So, that's what the three-sport athlete from Billings Senior has committed to over the last 11 months: an abundance of physical work.

“I had to completely relearn how to walk, my mom had to tie my shoes," Thompson said, recalling her desperate feeling following surgery to repair a blown-out knee. "There were things I physically couldn’t do that I used to be able to do so well.”

Things like play basketball and run track. And engaging in her favorite and most dominant sport — soccer.

In a cruel twist of fate last June, only days after Thompson had accepted an soccer offer to play for MSU Billings, she was nowhere near a soccer field when her knee popped.

“I slipped on sweat in a little basketball tournament and completely blew my ACL and meniscus,” she said.

Early in her recovery, there was plenty of doubt.

“You get to such a low point, like, I don’t know how I’m going to do this," Thompson admitted. "And then there was a moment where I had a mental switch and was like, no, I’m not letting this affect me.”

So, she continued grinding, inspired by Yellowjacket head coach Abiye Jack doubling down on his commitment to Thompson's scholarship this fall.

Her recovery still isn’t over. Thompson is limited to short sprints on the track and has to avoid curves — meaning, no relays. Still, she recently finished fourth in the 100-meter dash at the Midland Roundtable’s Top 10 meet and plans to race again at next week's Class AA state meet.

Though Thompson had to miss her senior soccer season, it closed on a heartwarming note as she delivered an honorary quick pass to start the match before subbing out to applause last fall.

Then she missed her senior basketball season.

Fast-forward to this week as the Midland Roundtable is honoring Thompson with its Kathy & Nicki Maier Scholarship during Wednesday night's Athlete of the Year banquet. It's a $500 award presented to the applicant who best personifies overcoming adversity in their high school athletic career.

Thompson said the the Roundtable's text congratulating her brought tears of joy.

“I was so beyond excited just because I wanted to be part of Midland Roundtable Athlete of the Year ever since I got to go to the banquets and stuff," she said. "So, when I found out I tore my ACL, it was kind of one of those things where it just felt like it wasn’t even possible.”

Yet here she is delivering a blueprint on how to make the impossible … possible.