Former Yelm Athlete Still Making an Impact at YHS

By Jacob Dimond / jake@yelmonline.com
Posted 3/22/22

Brandon Thompson was a multi-sport athlete at Yelm High School, who excelled in both football and baseball.

After graduating in 2017, Thompson played at Tacoma Community College. His stint at TCC …

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Former Yelm Athlete Still Making an Impact at YHS

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Brandon Thompson was a multi-sport athlete at Yelm High School, who excelled in both football and baseball.

After graduating in 2017, Thompson played at Tacoma Community College. His stint at TCC was cut short due to injuries, so Thompson found himself searching for his calling. And ultimately, it led him back home to coach sports at Yelm High School.

After signing with TCC, Thompson experienced pain in his elbow for some time, and eventually he was diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament, which required surgery. Most fans of baseball are familiar with the injury, as “Tommy John Surgery” can be a death sentence for most pitchers. Thompson, however, was an outfielder, but since his recovery time and rehab was set to last from one to two years, he searched for a new venture.

He started coaching as he recovered from his surgery.

“At that point, I was about a month and a half out of surgery, so I couldn’t work many ‘real’ jobs due to having to be in a brace for almost half a year,” said Thompson. “I asked (YHS football coach Jason Ronquillo) if I was able to come give back to the program, and he took me back in with open arms. From there I just fell in love with it.”

The relationship between Thompson and Ronquillo was formed back in 2014 when Thompson played in his first varsity game as a freshman. In his debut, he exploded for 225 total yards and three touchdowns. Ronquillo gave Thompson the reins, and he was a strong all-purpose running back. He could run between the tackles, beat others with his speed, or simply run through a person on the field. Thompson was also a threat in the passing game, and could take any pass for a touchdown, whether he was running a little swing route, or running a streak up the field.

Thompson and Ronquillo, now colleagues, have the chance to work together on a daily basis during the spring, summer and fall time period. And looking back, Thompson is appreciative of his relationship with Ronquillo over the years.

“Coach Q was one of my biggest supporters along the way due to him pushing me to lengths I had never been to before,” said Thompson. “This ultimately made me a better player, competitor and person.”



Thompson is also thankful for his parents, who have been in his corner, supporting him along his journey.

“My parents took the time to support me and always were willing to sacrifice their weekends to take me on my college visits. No matter how my performance was or the outcome on a Friday night, they were always appreciative and supportive to see me doing something I loved to do,” said Thompson.

For many athletes, the memories of scores fade away as do the memories of big plays. But one thing that will never be taken from former athletes, and Thompson, is building lifelong friendships along the way.

“I’m not sure If I could narrow down to one specific moment that stands out more than the others, but I would say my most impactful moment was when I was just interacting and building a bond with some of my teammates and some of my best friends to this day,” said Thompson.

Thompson has spent several years as part of the Yelm High School coaching staff, and most recently spent time calling defensive plays for the Yelm freshmen football team. Thompson is also currently an assistant coach on Yelm’s baseball team.

Going forward, Thompson wants to finish out his degree. He is deciding between sports and performance psychology, or clinical psychology. No matter where the road leads Thompson, he aims to continue coaching.

“I plan on continuing to coach and eventually have the opportunity to put my degree to work to hopefully make a bigger impact and bring awareness to mental health issues in athletes,” said Thompson.

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