Being a twin can be daunting. It’s not easy to forge your own identity when outsiders consistently pair you with your sibling by default. For much of her life, Anya Thomas has been referred to as a Thomas Twin just as much as she has been by her own name.
Throw in that her sister, Kayla, is considered one of the top female athletes to come through FHS over the last decade and there could be a lot of angst to come from that. Anya, however, is not defined simply by her shared birthday or athletic comparisons. She is very much an individual, not to mention a very good athlete herself.
The starting goalie for the soccer team and post player for the girls’ basketball team, Anya Thomas may not be either team’s biggest star, but she has shone brightly for both clubs throughout her high school career. Coach Bob Buscher has no qualms putting Anya up against much bigger and physically stronger players down low because he knows that the senior will battle as hard as she can for 32 minutes. On the pitch, coach Cory Dubuque believed every shot that was within her reach would be stopped. Her coaches place faith in her, and she more than lives up to it.
The daughter of George and Dympna Thomas said that her friends and family are her most-prized possession. She is a fan of history class in school, her favorite movie is “21 Jump Street” and “Power” is her favorite TV show. She’s also a fan of Chris Brown’s music.
A high-honor roll student and tri-captain of the basketball team, Anya is an all-star both on and off the field of play. She loves to follow her friends and family on social media, and her go-to meal is a steak and taco ring.
How did you get involved with basketball? How much do you enjoy it?
While growing up, my dad always coached basketball, so my brother, my sister and I would tag along and we started loving the sport. I enjoy basketball so much because our entire family has been involved, and stayed so close going to games together, traveling the United States and enjoying family competition against each other.
You play in the post for the Clippers despite not being particularly tall. What is it about your game that makes you capable of playing there, and how do you approach playing against much bigger girls in the paint?
When I was younger I was always taller than everyone else, so I played the post and I learned the skills needed for that position. My natural position is a shooting guard, but as for any team, I have to take on a role that is needed. So, I played whatever was asked of me by my coach and I know my teammates always have my back!
Last year the team was very good, but came up short of its ultimate goal of a deep tournament run. What do you think needs to happen to achieve that this year?
We have a great team, so our focus is to make sure the team keeps up the defense and continues to shoot well. I think we have a good chance at making a deep run, but it will all depend on us doing our job and staying focused.
You also played soccer for FHS. How did you end up being a goalie, and what was it about the position that you enjoyed?
I played goalie on town soccer because my sister played on offense, so I just did the opposite of my twin. I continued to play in middle and high school to stay in shape. I like soccer, but I love playing basketball. I enjoy playing the field when needed; however not many players like the goalie position, so I continued in that position throughout high school. Being the goalie has given me the opportunity to work with such amazing people, like assistant coach Tom Manchester.
You missed out on the state tournament game in Somerset because you had become very ill. How tough was it not to be there for that game, and were you trying to keep updated as it was played, or were you too tired to care?
I wanted nothing more than to play in our last state tournament as goalie against Somerset, but unfortunately, I was sick. Our other goalie, Olivia Gregory, did an exceptional job and the team was so proud of her! Luckily, I received play by play information from my dad, who was at the state game, which made my hospital stay more tolerable.
What do you think a scouting report would say about you?
I would hope that the scouting report for both basketball and soccer would say that I am a team player, will do whatever the coach asks of me, and that I have a great understanding of the sport.
If you could replay one game that you have played in, which one would it be? Why?
Our soccer game against Sandwich this year at home. This was a highly competitive game against one of our rivals that became heated at times, which resulted in our team becoming closer and stronger as one.
What do you consider the highlight of your athletic career so far?
Defeating Old Rochester earlier this year by 16 points after they knocked us out of the State Basketball Tournament last season.
Who is the best teammate that you’ve ever played with? What makes that person stand out?
The best teammate that I have ever played with is by far my sister, Kayla, because she always plays to win!
Do you have any sports-related superstitions? If so, what are they?
I listen to the same music playlist before every game.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from playing sports?
Competing! Also the relationships and camaraderie of teammates, coaches, family and friends.
Who has been your inspiration?
My inspiration is my mom, who is not an athlete by any means, but who has taught me to be a strong, educated, independent woman. I also want to include coach Bob Buscher, who is an inspiration to me because of his perseverance and ongoing commitment to all of us!
Is there anyone that you would like to thank?
My family, because of all their continuous support, especially my father for teaching me everything I know, and all of the coaches who have inspired me along the way: Coach Buscher, Coach Oliveira, Coach Gilbert, Coach Manchester, Coach Britt and Coach Dubuque. I wouldn’t be the player I am today without all of them by my side.
What’s the most interesting place you’ve ever visited? Is there somewhere in the world that you’ve always dreamed of going? Why?
I love visiting Ireland because that’s where my grandparents came from, and where most of my relatives still live. I also enjoyed the Bahamas and swimming with the sharks. I hope that my next vacation is Hawaii.
What’s the biggest difference between you as a senior and as a freshman? If you could go back, what advice would you give to your freshman self?
The difference is confidence and maturity.
What is something about you that people would be surprised to learn?
People would be surprised to learn that I am actually pretty smart.
If you could switch places with one person for a week, who would it be and what would you want to do?
I would want to switch places with actress Tiffany Haddish, who is so funny! It would be amazing to have an opportunity to see what it is like to live her life.
Describe your idea of the perfect day
My idea of the perfect day is at home, on the beach, jet skiing with family and friends.
What are your post high school plans?
My plans after high school are to go to college and get a well-paying job.
Where will you be in 10 years, and what will you be doing?
In 10 years I will hopefully have a job that allows me to make a difference in this world.