Ryan Thomas is all over the track & field/cross country record books at Albemarle High School and now he's headed to the Ivy League.
Thomas will be attending Columbia University in the fall, where he'll run on the track team and pursue a political science degree.
He was honored at a signing celebration Wednesday at the high school with many family members and friends in attendance. He chose the Lions over fellow Ivy League school Princeton as well as Stanford.
"I knew they had a great running program and a great academic program for what I wanted to study," Thomas said. "Once I went on my official visit, I saw the team chemistry and team dynamic and it seemed like a place I could really thrive."
A 4.0-GPA student in the classroom, Thomas cited academics as a strong factor in choosing his school.
"I definitely wanted to choose a school for both the school and the running," he explained. "I can't run forever so I need a good education to do whatever I want to do after running."
Thomas was the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame Student-Athlete of the Year in 2013.
"It definitely feels like finally all the hard work in the classroom and on the track, the 10-mile distance runs where I sometimes questioned what I'm doing out here, it definitely all pays off," he explained. "All the hard work and all the support I've been given throughout by family and friends was big."