Better than you may have expected

Trinity athletics fly under the radar, but dominate across the board


Claire Sammons

Trinity University Track Field.

For most prospective Trinity students, there are a few numbers that stand out in the rankings. No. 55 in the nation of Best Liberal Arts Colleges according to the U.S. News and World Report. No. 38 in the same category according to the Wall Street Journal. The no. 1 Best Small College in Texas according to Niche. While perhaps not as important in swaying the minds of high schoolers to attend, an area where Trinity consistently seems to fly under the radar is athletics.

According to Next College Student Athlete (NCSA), a more than 20-year-old organization that specializes in recruiting for college athletes, Trinity is ranked as the no. 24 athletic program out of more than 400 Division III schools they analyzed. NCSA revealed its criteria which included NCSA favorites (a measure of how popular a given institution is among current high school student-athletes), U.S. News and World Reports Best Colleges, College Scorecard graduation rate and College Scorecard average cost after aid.

In the 2021-22 academic year, Trinity was able to accomplish all of the following: Football won the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) and qualified for the NCAA championship (one of only 32 teams to participate, out of a total of 250 teams in Division III). Volleyball won the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) regular season and postseason tournament without dropping a single game. Volleyball also qualified for the NCAA Championship and advanced to the national quarterfinals for a second consecutive season excluding 2020, when a championship did not occur due to the pandemic.

Men’s and women’s soccer each won the SCAC and advanced to the NCAA championships. Women’s soccer would advance to the round of 16 before losing to the eventual national champions.

But success was not restricted to the fall of ‘21. In the winter, men’s and women’s basketball advanced to the NCAA championships, with the women doing so after winning the SCAC, and won their round of 64 games, with the women advancing to the Elite Eight.

In the spring, softball became the only team on the year to miss the NCAA postseason. Yet, they finished third in the SCAC standings, an upward trend. On the other diamond, men’s baseball returned to the College World Series for the first time since winning it in 2016.

It was a commanding year for team sports, but things didn’t stop there as successes extended to individuals as well. A whooping 71 athletes earned all-conference honors in either the SCAC or the SAA, and another 24 Tigers earned recognition as All-Americans. In between all-conference and All-American honors were a myriad of other athletes who were also honored at the regional level or garnered player-of-the-year awards in their conferences. Another handful of coaches were honored as the best in their conference and a select few were recognized at a regional level.

On paper, it becomes clear when the list of accomplishments are arranged next to each other and things seem to stretch on and on and on. In reality, few students beyond student-athletes themselves fill up the bleachers of Calgaard gym or Trinity Stadium on a consistent basis. They simply don’t realize that on this campus there are 70-plus all-conference athletes. But if that’s not enticing enough, there are almost 25 athletes that are playing at an all-American level.

It might not be of the utmost importance when one is deciding whether or not Trinity is the school for them, but it seems neglectful not to acknowledge or respect what is a vital aspect of this campus for close to 20% of the student body.