Reflections from the Mat


photo by Josh Willis

Trinity wrestling practice.

Anthony Farias, Staff Reporter

Set yourself in a wrestling stance. Knees bent, chest over your thighs, and your eyes staring into your opponent’s. Boom boom, boom boom, boom boom…your heart races, pumping adrenaline. One goal in your mind…win the match by pin. The ref exclaims, “Set!” Your foot advances to the starting line. Before you know it, your ears are ringing from the referee’s whistle.

That is what it is like to be a Trinity wrestler. The wrestling program has been around for decades. In 2013, former head coach Eddie Rudolph took over the wrestling program for the second time. In his three-year return, he produced three two-time state champions and an additional one-time state champion.

Rudolph had a lot of experience wrestling in high school and coaching the Rocks for several years previously. Rudolph said, “I left (coaching the team for the first time) because I (had) gotten married and had two children.”

Rudolph asked coach Richard Brown, an assistant coach at the time, to become the head coach. Brown continued Trinity success when his team won a team state championship.   

Wrestling gave me lifelong friends, and it taught me the ideals of Trinity in the hot, humid wrestling room every day after school.”

Following Brown’s time as coach and Rudolph’s second stint, the Rocks named Mr. Patrick Fleming as head coach this year. Throughout this season the team worked to rebuild following the graduation of champions Ben Barton, Keegan Duncan, Hudson Heidorf and Tyler Frankrone.

Rudolph said of Fleming: “He has them on the right path.” Sophomore Kadin Kulmer demonstrated that right path by placing third in the KHSAA state tourney this year at 195.

As a former wrestler, I wanted to get the thoughts of former and current wrestlers about this intense sport.

Senior Noah Miller, who wrestled for two years, said he joined the team “to get into better shape.”  After a few weeks, however, he grew to love the sport.

Miller said, “There is something about just spending a lot of time with people that you would consider brothers that makes all of the long practices worth it.”

Miller enjoyed the results he saw on his body from the workouts, but not everyone loves the sport.

Junior Zachary Taylor, a current wrestler, said, “To wrestle, you have to love the sport. Last year, I sort of fell out of the love.”

Taylor, who had wrestled since his earliest years at elementary school, decided to quit the team. The outcome was positive in some ways. His grades improved, he gained much more free time, and he could join some clubs at Trinity such as Investment Club and Future Business Leaders of America.

Taylor seemed happier but gradually began to miss the team. He said, “I missed being with the guys.” Fleming reached out to him about joining the team for the second half of this season.

Taylor said, “He told me I could come back after Jan. 1which was when we go start going to some more Kentucky tournaments.” In comparing the past two teams, Taylor said, “Last year, you had three returning state champs. This year, it (was) a lot more fun because the competition (was) not as big.”

After wrestling for Rudolph for three years, I can say being on a team with those state champions was a big deal. I looked up to them and they taught me a lot. They taught me a work ethic and a determination I will never forget. They taught me what it meant to be a Trinity wrestler and part of a team unlike any other.

That was the challenge for this year’s team. It’s tougher without champions around to set the example.  The task of winning state seems so treacherous without everyday proof that it is possible. I would have quit my first year if I did not see those guys win state championship titles.  I did not do that, though. I stayed with it because there was a part of me that believed that maybe I could do that one day.

Without doubt, the wrestling program turns weak freshmen into motivated men. I am forever thankful to that program because it taught me so much about persistence and a strong work ethic.

Four-star wrestlers graduating and going off to college last year hurt the team badly. For coach Fleming there will be a rebuilding time. Rebuilding can teach you to fight or give up in just minutes.

This program showed me things that I may have never seen if coach Kenny Ellenbrand, a former head coach and now an assistant coach, did not bother me every day in civics class to join the team. Wrestling gave me lifelong friends, and it taught me the ideals of Trinity in the hot, humid wrestling room every day after school.


Wrestling practice video from Josh Willis: