Opinion: Trinity’s domination across sports makes me lucky to be a Tiger fan

Being in Division III doesn’t diminish the Tigers’ success

Sometimes I wonder what it would feel like to be a student attending the Iron Bowl at Jordan-Hare Stadium, or watching the “blue bloods” battle it out at Cameron Indoor. But that’s not where I am. Instead, I somehow wound up at a school where I can’t name the football stadium off the top of my head, what some might consider a cardinal sin at Texas A&M University.

But this really isn’t the worst thing in the world, certainly not to the degree that I’ve made it out to be. If you’re a fan of sports, then being a student at Trinity is actually a great position to be in, and here’s why: unlike a number of major U.S. colleges and universities who have successful teams in only one sport, whether that be football, basketball, or a handful of others, Trinity has teams across the board that dominate their competition year in and year out.

The Tigers baseball team opened this year as the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) preseason favorite. Rather quickly they were also receiving national recognition, earning the top spot in Division III baseball across the nation, a position they’ve held since March 9. They carry a 16-1 record and a clean mark of 6-0 in conference after sweeps against the University of St. Thomas and Austin College. Five members of this team were selected to either the All-SCAC First or Second team the last time the honors were handed out in 2019, a year in which the Tigers won the SCAC postseason tournament and advanced to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Tournament.

So far this season, the team has plated 175 runs in their 17 games, an average of over 10 runs a contest, helped in large part by 18 home runs over this stretch, a number good enough to rank the team 10th in all of Division III. These are the numbers I’d use to combat the “baseball is so boring” argument and would advise you to go out and watch these guys before you settle upon that conclusion.

Although their years just ended, the men’s and women’s basketball teams both posted phenomenal seasons in all SCAC schedules.

After a 10-16 record last year, including an 8-10 mark in conference play last year good enough for sixth place in the SCAC, new head coach Jimmy Smith flipped around the men’s basketball program and was recognized as the SCAC Coach of the Year. Despite being picked to finish fourth in the preseason poll, the Tigers achieved an 8-1 record in conference play led by sophomore transfer Kaleb Jenkins, the SCAC player of the year.

Their record over the course of the regular season was good enough to give them the number one seed heading into the postseason tournament. The group finished the year at 10-2 and fell just short in the SCAC championship game, but the future looks bright with Smith and Jenkins at the helm.

The women’s basketball team continued their sustained excellence, even in a year where they lost the reigning conference player of the year. Senior Jordan Rudd anchored the team defensively and was recognized as the SCAC Defensive Player of the Year. Rudd helped guide the Tigers to a 7-2 regular season record and a sixth consecutive regular season SCAC title. The team finished 10-2 overall and defeated Colorado College to claim a SCAC Tournament title. Despite the impending loss of another player who received top individual honors from the conference, the precedent has been set that another Tiger will step up to fill that role next year.

Over at Paul McGinlay Field, as students line up along the fence to catch a glimpse of the action, both the men’s and women’s soccer teams have gotten off to hot starts in their irregular spring seasons.

The men’s soccer team have played to a 4-0-1 mark after a delayed start to their year, but have already netted 12 goals on the season. They look to rebound from what some would call a “down year” in which they still reached the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the second round.

The “rebound” year has been successful so far thanks in part to the play of goal keeper Juan Carlos Vidales, who comes off a weekend in which he earned SCAC Defensive Player of the Week honors after allowing just one goal in 187 minutes of action across two games. He has helped the Tigers find themselves atop the conference standings after two home victories against St. Thomas and Texas Lutheran University.

The women’s soccer team boasts perhaps the most eye-popping stat of any team I’ve mentioned here. They have not dropped a match in SCAC regular season play since the 2008 season. Over that time, they have amassed over 100 victories in conference play. They are coming off a year in which they lost the SCAC Tournament Championship in heartbreaking fashion, but still advanced to the third round of the NCAA tournament where they lost to the eventual national champions. They sit at 6-0 on this season with a very impressive 23-3 goals scored to goals allowed ratio.

This is a pretty extensive list that doesn’t even include a football team coming off one of their best years in recent memory. It would also be remiss of me not to mention a Tiger volleyball team that is playing as well as, if not better than they did when they reached the Final Four a year ago. I could go on and mention the success of the tennis, cross country, track & field and swimming & diving programs as well but by now I think I’ve gotten my point across: Trinity has teams and athletes that year in and year out dominate their competition.

At the end of the day that’s what it should come down to: watching quality athletes and teams that compete at a high level and more often than not, come out victorious. So the next chance you get, take the opportunity to watch these Tigers with your friends on Tiger Network or next year in person, when fans are hopefully allowed back at games, because it isn’t every day that you have sports of this quality at your disposal being played right in your backyard.