The goal was to become a Division I athlete, even if the path wasn’t as direct as he wanted.
But for Tristen Thomson, all it took was one year running cross country and track at Concordia (Irvine, Calif.) before transferring to a Division I school this season. After earning all-conference weekly honors at the Division II school as a freshman, Thomson found a new home in Sacramento where he will compete for the Sac State Hornets.
“What led me to Sac State was the opportunity to run for a better program and also be closer to home,” said Thomson, whose family still resides in Fallon. “Sac State also has one of the top Kinesiology programs in the country.”
It also helps that Thomson’s no stranger to the area. During his time in Fallon, Thomson competed in Sacramento several times and has enjoyed the trails and elevation.
“My favorite thing about this area is the American River Trail, which covers more than 20 miles,” Thomson said. “I also really like how the altitude is close to sea level. Sacramento offers a great running community.”
At Concordia, Thomson made an immediate impact after a stellar career running for the Greenwave. He earned academic all-PacWest honors and placed seventh in the 5K and eighth in the 1500-meter run at the PacWest Outdoor Championships. Thomson was the cross country team’s freshman MVP after scoring times of 1 minute, 56.26 seconds in the 800, 3:55.86 in the 1500 and 15:15.80 in the 5K. All were personal bests except the 800, in which he set the Fallon school record for in his senior season.
That success helped Thomson make the jump to Division I, which will help the sophomore runner continue to grow for the remainder of his collegiate career.
“Competing at the D-I level holds me accountable for my running and allows for me to reach my absolute potential,” he said. “The competitiveness of D-I cross country and track will allow me to grow stronger both mentally and physically.”
Thomson hasn’t run his first race for Sac State yet but he’s aiming high for his first season. He’s eying a top-five finish on the team and wants to run the 8K in under 25 minutes. Sac State opens the cross country season on Sept. 2 at the Aggie Open in Davis, Calif.
“Hopefully all the hard work I have put on this summer will pay off,” Thomson said. “I would not be in the position without the love and support from my family.”