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Trinity's Spencer May, a three-time state qualifier, entered this week 32-2 on the season.    Photo by Charles Schaefer

Trinity wrestlers have eyes on the prize: A state 2-A dual meet championship

TRINITY — Performance sometimes doesn’t meet expectations. But the high expectations hanging on the Trinity High School wrestling team this year have been met time and time again.


In fact, the Bulldogs were a perfect 17-0 in dual meet matches heading into action this past weekend in Parkland.


Trinity has also been a bright spot in team competitions with team and individual championships in some of the most prestigious tournaments in the area.


“We try and make our schedule every year to get as close as we can to big-time matches and dual meets like we will have in the states,” said eight-year veteran head coach Brandon Coggins, who had four placers among the six wrestlers he sent to the state tournament last year.


“The seniors on this team were sophomores when we lost by two points to Bandys in the fourth round. They know how to see this through and stay composed and reach the goal in matches.”


The goal this season is lofty, Coggins said: A state 2-A dual meet championship. Last year, injuries suffered late in the season were too much to overcome and the Bulldogs fell in the second round. This year, barring injuries, the Bulldogs can put out a lineup equal to or better than most.


In a thrilling Piedmont Athletic Conference dual meet right before Christmas, Trinity, the state’s no. 1 ranked 2-A team, edged Uwharrie Charter Academy, the state’s no. 1 ranked 1-A team, 36-30 on a final bout pin.


“In a dual team meet, everyone has a hole here or there,” Coggins said of the 14 weight classes. “We try to eliminate that and get some of our guys better.”


Having three of the four wrestlers who placed in the 2023 state tournament return has been key for the Bulldogs.


Spencer May, a three-time state qualifier and two-time placer, finished second. Brayden Hall, a two-time qualifier, was third. Levi Dennis placed fifth in his first state tournament. May was 32-2 entering action last weekend, Hall 30-5 and Dennis 29-1.


“These guys know what it takes to win and they hold the standard in practice,” Coggins said. “They know what to expect and what it takes to get there. And some of the young guys we had in the lineup last year were relatively successful.”


The Bulldogs have been solid up and down the lineup. Aiden Burkholder  is a freshman at 106 and has been a pleasant surprise, fashioning an impressive record of 31-5 on the season. Edgar Vasquez, Jaden Allred, Charles Schaefer, Baron Justice, Zane Schloemer, Lawson Coltrane, Gavin Hardister, Xavier Horton and Joseph Trahan have all been key in the THS lineup.


“One of our surprises has been at (138), Jaden Allred,” Coggins said. “He came out because he thought he might enjoy it and he’s been kind of a jayvee kid for us. He worked really hard in the off-season and has come in this year and already beat some qualifiers and placers. He’s catapulted.”


Schaefer is 30-3 in the 140-pound class and Coltrane is 28-7 in just his second year of wrestling. Hardister is 22-1 as a 215-pounder and heavyweight Trayhan is 28-8. Horton returns after missing all last year because of an injury.


“Every week there is a new challenge,” Coggins said. “But they have put in the work other people haven’t.” 


That's showing on the mat each and every match.