Her fellow state champion from Stonington High School, Ryan Gruczka, describes Nancy Inthasit’s diligence as follows: “At practice, I wouldn’t say she’s yelling at everyone, but she’s making sure everyone’s doing their work and getting done what they have to do. “
Stonington indoor and outdoor track coach Ben Bowne, meanwhile, wishes that Inthasit could be captain of the boys’ track teams as well as the girls’ teams.
“She runs that girls’ team. I don’t have to worry about anything,” Bowne said. “Ella She does little questions of the day with all the girls. ‘Rose of the day.’ ‘Thorn of the day.’ ‘What’s your middle name and what was the meaning of it?’ “All the time. Indoor and outdoor. … She has great energy. She’s a really great kid. I’m so proud of her journey from her.”
Inthasit was named The Day’s 2022 All-Area Girls’ Indoor Track & Field Athlete of the Year.
She was the Eastern Connecticut Conference Division II champion in the 55 meters (7.39 seconds) and led the Bears, who also won the overall team title, to relay victories in the 4×180 and 4×400. She added the Class S state championship in the 55 (7.35) and the sprint medley relay (4:27.13), joining Hannah Andersen, Helena Hoinsky and Iliana Rashleigh in the relay.
Inthasit went on to compete in the individual sprint at the State Open, the New England meet and the Nike Indoor National Youth Championship.
She is headed to run next year at Central Connecticut State University and plans to become an orthodontist, all after being born in Thailand and arriving in the United States at the age of 8, unable to speak English and communicating mainly through hand signals.
And yes, Inthasit may come across as serious at times, but the real reason she’s achieved all that she has in track and in the classroom has been through her indefatigable work ethic.
“Half the work that’s being done at meets is in practice,” Inthasit said recently, with the outdoor track season having already started. “If you don’t do what you’re supposed to do, there’s no way, you’re not going to do well in meets.
“I take the honor of being the captain. I love my team. I want the people to join track to have fun, be included and have a great time. I want that for my team, be happy and have fun. We can have fun… as long as we’re putting in 110%.”
Bowne said it was after the indoor track season Inthasit’s sophomore year that he challenged her. Inthasit was fourth in the ECC Division II meet and fifth in Class M in the 55 — “I told her, you’ve kind of got to decide,” Bowne said. “Do you want to be really special?” It was a good, positive conversation. ‘You can be good or you can be really special.'”
The 2020 spring season was then canceled due to COVID-19. Meanwhile, before high school sports had the chance to resume, Bowne was getting a word from his colleagues about him at Stonington.
“They’re like, ‘We always see Nancy at the YMCA, she’s like a machine there.’ Other teachers at school saying, ‘We see her at the Y working out,'” Bowne said.
“She continued to improve. She had a great spring (of 2021). She made the Open in the 100, 200 and 4×100. She just continued working. You could see her maturing and becoming a leader. She tied the school record in the 100, which was set all the way back by Gretchen Mehringer (Class of 1981) and she just missed Kate Hall’s (school record) in the 200.
“When you look at her, she has a bounce in her step. She’s so explosive. She looks like a Division I athlete even though she’s small (5-foot-2).”
Inthasit’s effervescent personality shines through. As a future orthodontist, she said it’s her goal for her to “make everybody love to go to the dentist.” After a morning outdoor track practice on Good Friday, she joined the other girls for a team breakfast at Kelley’s Deli in Westerly.
However, she believes that track is a mentality, especially the 55 meters.
“With the 55, it’s completely different from the 100,” she said. “It’s such a short race. You can already know whether you’re going to win or not by your mindset. It’s such a short race, there’s not enough time to catch up to people. It’s about your block start and your mentality. Who “Wants it more? Every team goes to practice for the same amount of days, same amount of hours. It has to come down to, ‘I want it.'”
It’s the same concentration Nancy, whose given Thai name is Nuchwara, showed upon her arrival in the US along with her mother Ann and brother Sam.
She said when she first moved to the country, the only words she knew were “yes,” “no” and “OK.” It took her two or three years, she said, to thoroughly understand English and to be able to converse.
Inthasit is proud of her heritage — “I think it’s amazing,” she said — while also looking forward to her future.
“I’m honored to be offered the opportunity I was offered. When I first got here, I had no clue what I was doing or saying,” she said. “Looking back at where I started, I came a long way.
“I wanted to continue to keep going (in college) with my interest in track and field. Just thinking of all the hard work I did… DI college is amazing. That goes to my coaches and teammates who helped me along the way .”