Debbie Thometz, St. Thomas (Minn.): NCAA DIII Athlete Hall of Fame, Class of 2021

Debbie Thometz (now Leyden) was historically fast.

Back in 1983, Thometz set a meet record in the 10,000 meters at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Naperville, Illinois, that has yet to be broken 38 years later. She covered 25 laps of the 400-meter oval at North Central College in 33:50.32 (5:26/mile pace) and did so in a solo effort, winning by 1 minute, 17.55 seconds.

That mark also established a divisional record that stood for one year until Tori Neubauer went 33:25.80 the following year at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, when top NCAA DII and NCAA DIII athletes were still invited to compete. While Thometz now sits No. 6 on the all-time chart, she still owns the fastest mark run in NCAA DIII-only competition (Each of the five marks in front of her were turned in during large, mixed-division races).

Leading up to her historic performance at the NCAA DIII Outdoor Championships, Thometz turned in another stellar effort at the MIAC Outdoor Championships. Thometz won the 10,000 meters in 34:22.58, which also remains the meet record to this day.

Even though this is a Track & Field Athlete Hall of Fame, Thometz also starred on the cross country course. Back in the fall of 1981, Thometz won the individual title at the AIAW Cross Country Championships and led St. Thomas (Minn.) to the team title over Holy Cross. Thometz sandwiched that victory between two runner-up finishes in 1980 and 1982.