The Trinity Voice

Running for a dynasty: Trinity Prep cross country finishes top three at state meet

Senior captain Trent Turbyfill makes his stride in the Nov. 11 Tallahassee state meet.

Senior captain Trent Turbyfill makes his stride in the Nov. 11 Tallahassee state meet.

Bella Lundy

Bella Lundy

Senior captain Trent Turbyfill makes his stride in the Nov. 11 Tallahassee state meet.


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The goal of any sports program is simple: to be the best and stay at the top for as long as possible. The Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls of the 90s won six titles in eight seasons, the Pittsburgh Steelers of the 70s and 80s won four titles in six years and the UCLA Bruins men’s basketball team of the 60s and 70s won 10—yes, 10—NCAA championships in a 12-year span.

We are currently watching a dynasty unfold before our eyes on a national scale, as the New England Patriots have won nearly 75 percent of their games since Tom Brady became quarterback, and the Golden State Warriors have made three straight titles, winning two, and are a favorite again this season.

While the Patriots and Warriors continue cementing their place in history, we have a dynasty that is forming right here at Trinity. The boys’ cross country team has won four straight state championships and had a great race this year, finishing third. The Saints have run (pun intended) the state of Florida for years now and they don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. Senior captain Sean Leider has been running on the varsity squad for three seasons now and knows what it takes to keep the dynasty alive.

“It’s definitely brought some pressure onto the program to keep [the winning] going,” Leider said. “I know a lot of dynasties say it’s hard for them to stay motivated, but I think it really motivates us to stay on top, and we know we have to work hard because everyone is gunning after us.”

Senior Ricky Woodruff agrees with Leider and believes that Trinity truly is a dynasty.

“I think there’s some truth to that,” Woodruff said. “The past four years we’ve been dominating the state. Hopefully we will continue to produce star athletes.”

This year’s team is strong and well-led by a core group of senior captains that feature Leider, Woodruff and Trent Turbyfill. They have led the team throughout this season while instilling a sense of responsibility into the younger runners.

“I’ve tried to lead by example and encourage people to stretch after runs, come out to the weekend runs and eat healthier,” Turbyfill said.

They have also been led by new head coach Michael Hopkins. Hopkins has been coaching as an assistant at Trinity since 2015 and took over unexpectedly during this season.

“Anytime that you have an unexpected transition during a season it is bound to be disruptive to some degree,” Hopkins said. “That being said, the boys on the team are all very committed to being strong, successful runners. They know what they have to do in order to be successful, so they really didn’t miss a beat when that change occurred. We have great team chemistry, and the boys really rallied.”

As for coaching, Hopkins knows his role come race day.

“Meet days are pretty straight-forward,” Hopkins said. “The boys know what they need to do when they arrive because we talk about expectations for meets before we ever get there. My main job is to make sure that we are on the starting line on time and to go over last minute race strategy. Mostly that means reminding them not to go out too fast at the start.”

Hopkins also hopes to continue Trinity’s cross country prowess.

“Coach Vinal created a team culture that is athlete centered,” Hopkins said. “The boys hold each other accountable and push each other to achieve to their highest potential. As a coach, I don’t really have to spend a lot of time trying to motivate our boys; they push and motivate themselves each and every day on their own accord. That drive has put them in position to win year in and year out.”

When it comes to the actual race, Trinity should be very calm in an otherwise nerve-wracking race. Their past success and their leaders have prepared them for this moment.

“I think we are used to performing under pressure,” Leider said. “I think we have the coaching and the experience. Especially the seniors and the upperclassmen like Chris Wilhelm.”

As another chapter draws to a close for the Saints, they continue to build their case to be considered with the greatest dynasties in Trinity history. They will look to add another piece to their dynasty status next season.

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Running for a dynasty: Trinity Prep cross country finishes top three at state meet