The Euless Trinity wrestling program has no problem with success. In fact, if it had to wrestle with it, it would probably go down as just another victory for Trinity.
The Trojans are 19-3 on the season with second-place finishes at the Tom Roman Invitational at Arlington High School and the Talon Duals at Haslet Eaton. The Lady Trojans are 17-3 with third-place finishes at the same tournaments.
The boys returned seven of 14 starters from last season, including two qualifiers to the Class 6A state tournament. The girls returned eight of 10 starters, all state qualifiers.
In all, coach Travis Clark has about 40 boys on his team who have some varsity experience and 20 girls who have competed at the varsity level.
“I feel that our greatest strength in both programs are unity and depth. We do not see a girls team or a boys team, only a Trojan wrestling team,” Clark said. “These young athletes do everything together year-round. They train together, they work out together and they go to wrestling clubs and camps together.
“They continue to push each other, no matter what. Their willingness to work hard and continue to get better every day is why they are successful. They have set their goals and are doing everything in their power to meet those goals.”
Top returners for the Trinity boys include Harley Williamson, 106 pounds, junior, state alternate; Alfredo Benavidez, 132, senior, state qualifier; Keaton Fanning, 182, senior, state qualifier; and Nick Hoenich, 152, senior.
Top returning girls include Paisley Zandi 148, senior, three-time state qualifier; Mack Beggs, 110, state qualifier the past two seasons; Savannah Bye, 128, senior, state qualifier the past two seasons; and Passion Hollins, 165, senior, state qualifier the past two seasons.
Freshman Trey Reed at 106 pounds and senior John Valdez at 220 have made a big impact as boys newcomers. Reed began the season 18-2 with a third-place finish in the first tournament of the year. Valdez has over 15 wins and a second-place finish.
Clark said Reed “has immediately helped the team,” and added that Valdez “has stepped in fill a void in the lineup.”
Two freshmen girls newcomers are also already making their presence felt, Carmen Allred, 102 pounds, and Aalyah Gilbert, 185. Allred is 21-1 with a third-place tournament finish.
Of Allred, Clark said she “has made an immediate impact on the team,”while Gilbert, like Valdez, has filled a major lineup spot.
“Great things are expected from these young wrestlers,” Clark said. “They hold each other accountable, and the older wrestlers take the younger ones under their guidance so that they can continue to fill the voids in the program. This group of young athletes considers everyone in the program their family.”
Several members of the team posted significant achievements during the offseason as well: Beggs: Team Texas National Team member, Preseason Nationals, national champion; Bye: Texas Freestyle state champion; Zandi: Body Bar Nationals All-American; Hollins: Team Texas National Team member; and Natalie Rodriguez: Team Texas National Team member.
Fanning, Nick Hoenich and Alfredo Benavidez were Texas Freestyle/Greco and Preseason Nationals competitors.
“I have been fortunate enough to have quality club coaches that run the DFW Wrestling Club and offer their expertise to not only my wrestlers but also other wrestlers in the area,” Clark said. “I am also fortunate enough to have a team that is willing to continue training through the spring, summer and fall each year to get better.
“Almost all of my wrestlers are involved in some type of club or offseason training, and there are several who travel and compete for another quality club, the Spartan Mat Club in Flower Mound, who also have top-level coaches who want nothing but the best for the kids that they train.”
Clark’s girls are seeking a third straight district title and the boys a second consecutive. Also, his JV is going for a third straight title.
“Our district is always a mystery. Normally, the teams are young, but we always know that they are going to be tough,” he said. “The Irving High School boys team is always tough and coached by a great coach that will be sure that they are ready for competition and will be in the running for the title. The South Grand Prairie boys and girls teams are always tough at district and will be looking to take the titles as well.”
And, once again, when it comes to scheduling, Clark’s team is ready for any and all challengers. It’s a big part of why they are always so good.
“I want my kids to compete against the best so that they are as prepared as possible in the postseason. My boys team will once again travel to San Antonio in January to take part in the Reagan Duals in order to see teams that we would not normally see around here. I am also taking a group of boys and girls to Houston this year and entering them into one of the toughest tournaments in the state so that they can see the level of competition that will be at the state tournament.
“I am also cautious not to overload the schedule,” Clark said. “Part of being successful as an athlete is balancing practice, competition, and rest. As a coach, that is my job to ensure that the kids stay balanced in those three areas.”