Tristen Thomson, s senior at Churchill County High School (CCHS), has been a member of the varsity cross country team since he was a freshman. Thomson was born and raised in Fallon and hasn’t left.
“Fallon has that small-town feel where athletics are a big priority,” Thomson said, “It’s one of the important things that brings this town together. I feel like being an athlete in Fallon is a great opportunity because of course you always get the competition in Reno and Las Vegas but you get to compete against other schools such as Fernley.
“It has pretty much developed me and my understanding that of course you’re going to lose games, but just the art of winning and being able to take a loss helps against whoever else you might play.”
This year was Thomson’s third consecutive year going to the state championships. His first time was in his sophomore year with the boys cross country team that finished fourth out of six teams that qualified, and then in his junior year as an individual, finishing 15.
This year, Thomson finished with the bronze medal as the No. 3 runner in Northern Nevada and also at state.
Thomson said that he had help being coached by one of the heads of the Damonte Ranch cross country team that is under the affiliation of the Reno Running Club.
“He’s helped me out from the beginning of the season, and it’s just really developed me in a more competitive output towards cross country,” Thomson said. “Last year I placed 15 at state but didn’t really get the competitive coaching like I had this year. It really gave me a confidence booster to perform better this year than I have in the past years.”
Thomson’s first year at state with the boys cross country team was the first time the squad has made it to state in 42 years, he said, and throughout that time he has seen several other runners grow as he has, including Eugene Smith, Chloe Overlie, Jordyn Rogers, and Michael Anderson from CCHS.
“(Eugene) came in as a freshman just like any other freshman, new to the sport and he developed great over the last three years,” Thomson said. “I’ve seen a lot of improvement in his endurance and his strength and definitely in his leadership skills. (Overlie) is a great distance runner and she’s definitely one of the future pieces of the girls team for the next two years. I’ve run with Jordyn Rogers ever since freshman year and she is like a PR (Personal Record) machine. (Michael) has been great to have on the team. He’s a character and always makes us laugh and he’s great to be around. He always has a positive attitude about running and always gets the job done at the meet.”
In his last year on the team Thomson said he felt he went out on a high note, and gave his all at state. In addition to cross country, Thomson has run track for the past four years, specifically beyond the school affiliation with the Fallon Longhorns for outdoor meets, and played basketball for CCHS for the last three years excluding this one.
“The last few years have definitely been a good experience on both sides of the coaching from dad’s point of view and a coach’s point of view,” Thomson said on his thoughts behind being coached by his father, Tommy Thomson. “I think it’s helped me better myself as a runner. Having him there makes me want to be a better leader, because my dad’s there and I want to make sure that he sees me being a positive leader throughout the whole team. I think it’s been a good experience overall.”
On his way to graduating next spring, Thomson is verbally committed to the D2 cross country and track program at Concordia University in California and is in talks with recruiters about potential scholarships.
Thomson will be studying at Concordia to become a physician’s assistant, considering a future in sports medicine and/or radiology.
“The thing that I’m most scared of would be time management,” Thomson said when asked about what excites and scares him on the prospect of college, “because I know the first priority in going to college is to get your education and I know it’ll be difficult because I’ll be in the sport every single season except summer. So I’ll have to be on top of all my classes and my assignments and make sure I build a relationship with the professor. I know it’ll be a 10-hour drive from home so I know that kind of scares me a little bit. But the exciting thing is just being at the next level in college.”
Thomson said he is looking forward to transitioning from a 5k to an 8k program, and the possibility of a 10k run if he were to ever make it to nationals.
“That would be exciting to make something like that happen,” he said. “The location in Concordia is nice too, since it’s close to the Pacific Ocean and near Disneyland. I’m excited about the small campus because I’ll be able to build a better relationship with my professor, make new friends, building a better relationship with the team and the program.”