By Tyler Sadler
Thomas Kressley is officially in the SUNY Brockport record books. The junior runner broke a school record in the 3000 meters with a time of 8:29.72 seconds. This is a record that stood for about 45 years.
“When I got here, I always wanted to break that record. I have honestly been looking at it for a long time and said I could probably break that record,” Kressley said.
Kressley started running when he was in seventh grade. He had his eye on playing other sports but his love for running is what really drew him into the sport and made him want to continue.
“I started because I wanted to stay in shape for basketball. But it slowly turned into something that I enjoyed way more than basketball. The camaraderie between everybody kept me in the sport,” Kressley said.
Kressley credits his head cross country coach John Davis as his reason for not only coming to Brockport but continuing his track and field career.
“It’s been cool to get to know Coach Davis a lot better after the three years I’ve been here. I think he does a really good job of letting his athletes talk to him about what they need, and also what he thinks we need,” Kressley said. “It’s a really good dynamic he has with everybody. It’s not just certain people, he really talks and takes into account everybody on the team.”
Cross country head coach John Davis took over the program in 2019. He has developed a close relationship with Kressley. Kressley was Davis’s first recruit when he took over the program. They’ve had a tight bond from the beginning and it’s only grown since.
“We stayed really engaged through the recruitment process and I even went and saw him play basketball his senior year since he didn’t do indoor track. I made him a lot of promises of what I thought we could help him do and the program we could build here if he came and it’s been really awesome to watch him live out a lot of the things we talked about when we were recruiting him,” Davis said.
Davis was proud watching Kressley break the record that he’s been striving to break for so long.
“My reaction was just a lot of pride in him and the work he put in to get the record. I know it’s been on his mind for a while and I know the journey it took to get to that day so I was just super proud of who he’s become in that process,” Davis said.
Kressley was also awarded All-Region Athlete honors this past season.
“That felt really good. I think it felt really good to get the recognition because we work really hard at our events, so to be an all-region athlete was pretty cool,” Kressley said.
Kressley called breaking the 3000 meters school record his most proud accomplishment in his track career. But even in a sport that’s viewed as an individual one, Kressley has enjoyed watching the team grow close.
“Thinking back to freshman and sophomore year we were all separated, and it was a clicky kind of team, but this year everyone has bonded together over cross country, and it’s really brought everybody together. Seeing that the last three years has made me pretty proud to be part of this team,” Kressley said.
Senior Sean Killip has a close relationship with Kressley. They both came to Brockport at the same time and have been doing the same training and practicing since then.
“He’s always been someone I can go to for support,” Killip said. “He carries himself differently. He has a lot more confidence. He sets higher and more challenging goals. However, he’s still T. The same great person. The same friend who can always make you laugh. Brockport distance running has improved a lot. We are a part of that. Thomas recognizes this and he doesn’t take it for granted.”
From not even knowing he wanted to become a runner to breaking a four-decade long school record, it truly has been an incredible career so far for Thomas Kressley and it’s only just the beginning.