Posted Online: April 03, 2013, 9:05 pm

Rocky's Thompson is the silent sprinter with big results

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By Daniel Makarewicz,

More photos from this shoot
Photo: Paul Colletti
Rock Island junior sprinter Mystique Thompson is this week's Metro Pacesetter for The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus. Thompson won the 100- and 200-meter dashes and ran legs on the title-winning 4x100 and 4x200 relays at the Shipley Invitational.
Mystique Thompson's quiet personality makes the Rock Island junior sprinter dislike being interviewed.

"I don't know what to say," Thompson said.

Even in a casual setting, she rarely opens up.

"I don't like talking," Thompson said. "Not even in front of a class."

Running provides all of her words.

When it comes time to talk the talk, Thompson displays a shy side. Asked to walk the walk, this week's Metro Pacesetter for The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus handles her business.

"There are different kinds of leaders," Rocky coach Michelle Lillis said. "She definitely is a leader by example. Everybody always doesn't have to be that verbal kind of leader. That's not her forte."

Is Thompson ever chatty? Lillis says she is "occasionally."

Other than that, there are few words.

"She talks about what (the team) needs to do," Lillis said. "She's not a big, big talker."

What she can do is run.

Entering the season, Thompson is a five-time state medalist who could become the most decorated athlete in Illinois Quad-Cities Metro girls' track history. Thompson started her career by setting a meet record in her first open race and has continued it since.

During the Shipley Invitational on Saturday, she won the 100- and 200-meter dashes and ran the open leg on the Rocks' title-winning 4x100 and 4x200 relays.

"I try to run and help my team out," Thompson said. "I try to be the best I can and run really fast."

Through two-plus seasons, she already has her name on four school records -- the 100, 200, 4x100 and 4x200 -- and was a key cog in Rocky's back-to-back Western Big 6 Conference titles.

In the midst of an already decorated career, Thompson will not remind you or her opponents of the accomplishments. Most times, she does not say anything at all.

No trash talking or gloating.

"I wish (my opponents) good luck," Thompson said.

Throughout her career, that is how she has been.

"Uh huh," Thompson said.

All of her energy is spent being a talented sprinter.

"She just pays attention to what she needs to do," Lillis said. "She wants to be good."

As consistent as she has been on the track in her career, Thompson maintains that level off it as well. Victories feature no celebration and hardly any reaction.

When the inevitable interview happens, she follows the same script.

A couple of words and total focus on the next race.

"There's no need to talk," Thompson said. "I don't know what to say."

Those who watch Thompson on the track each day cannot think of a moment where she would open up.

"Not really," Lillis said. "She doesn't go overboard like that. Honestly, she is happier if what she does contributes to the team win than if she wins herself."

Leaders tend to act that way, something Thompson does on a consistent basis. Epitomizing the theory that actions speak louder than words, she works hard to be at her best for the team.

Just like the interviews, Thompson's quiet about it.

"This is my third time doing this," Thompson said. "I should know what to say right now. I have no idea."

Metro Pacesetter - Rock Island's Mystique Thompson

Favorite restaurant: Osaka
Favorite class: Anatomy and physiology with Mr. Campbell
Favorite team: Chicago Bulls
Favorite event: 200-meter dash
Favorite holiday: Thanksgiving
Parent: Lolita Payne, Rock Island
In the running
Anna Noe, Alleman: Recorded the shutout in goal as the Pioneers earned a 3-0 victory at Princeton.
Michael Daniels, Geneseo: Opened the season with a .615 batting average, .688 on-base percentage and six RBIs, helping the Maple Leafs to a 4-0 start.
Hannah Navarette, Moline: Recorded a hat trick in the Maroons' 9-0 win over Pekin.
Austin Webster, United Township: Won the A-Flight 1600- and 3200-meter races at the Shipley Invitational.