Colonials' Trent Accomplishes his Goal
By Blake Belden, staff writer
Apr 16, 2014, 15:43
File Photo/The Hopewell News/News-Patriot
When Justin Trent set out to become a state champion wrestler in his final year at Colonial Heights High School, he knew that there would be a mountain of hard work ahead of him.
Having fallen short by one match in his junior year, and craving the taste for the state title since he was a freshman, Trent overcame slivers of doubt during the season by putting all of his abilities on the table for each and every match, eventually walking off the mat in the Salem Civic Center on February 22 as a state champion.
Looking back on his season, Trent exuded a deep pride for achieving a long-desired goal, a great feeling not only for himself, but for the people who helped him out along the way including his teammates, family, coaches and club team.
Trent credited his father, Danny, as the person who introduced him to the sport and the largest motivating factor fueling his wrestling ambitions and abilities.
"He works a pretty hectic job and whenever he's not working, he's with me travelling or helping me getting me here, telling me 'hey, you need to do A,B and C.' He keeps me on top of my game and he's always there when I need him. He's...always pushing me to be better," Trent said of his father.
The state tournament took place at the Salem Civic Center in Roanoke, an arena that holds nearly 7,000 people, and Trent estimated that anywhere between two and three thousand people were present for the tournament.
Because Trent was used to wrestling in high school gyms, this increased capacity was a new experience for him and he had to adapt to the different environment.
"I'm wrestling in front of all these people...You get shocked by the lights a little bit, but you've got to just calm down and settle in. And I settled in and I got it done," Trent said.
With an eight man bracket, Trent pushed through three consecutive wins, each match determined by a point system awarded to each wrestler based on their moves, to earn the state title.
Each match has three two-minute periods for a total of six minutes in each match.
For his first match, Trent did not prepare himself properly, barely managing to pull off the win against his opponent, a victory he described as "dod[ging] a bullet."
With the first match down, he knew which mistakes needed to be corrected and that focus was the key element for winning.
"If you lose focus just for that split second, that could be it and just like that your season is over," Trent said.
As he continued towards his state title, he entered the final match, against a student he had wrestled the week before at the regional tournament, intent on getting a takedown to solidify his position in the lead.
The match went into the third period undecided, but Trent fought through and got a takedown which gave him a surge of relief and a clear path to victory.
"There's always that doubt in your mind of 'can I really do this?' But one thing that wrestling has taught me is that you have to go out there confident because like it or not there's another guy on the other side of the mat, and he's trying to win too," Trent said.
160 pound weight class wrestler Trent has earned many accolades in his high school career including a Central District Championship, a Central Region Championship, named to the All-Academic Team and now a state championship as he looks forward to his college career.
Trent took a little time off following his state title, but he said this would only be for a short period before jumping back into the weight room and hitting the weights.
"And then once it comes time for me to start heading down to Wheeling [Jesuit University]...about a month or so in advance, I'm going to get back into shape, get on my wrestling mat, start running. Everything you really need to compete at that next level," Trent said, with his eyes always looking towards the next step.
Back in November, Trent accepted an offer to Wheeling Jesuit University, in West Virginia, a school with an undergraduate class of just more than 1,000 students whose wrestling program is brand new. Trent's freshman stint will be during the second year of the program's existence.
Sean Doyle, the head wrestling coach at WJU, previously wrestled under the instruction of Colonial Heights coach Andrew Sawka, thus sparking an interest for Trent to check the school out.
After multiple trips to the campus with Sawka, Trent decided the university would be the place for him.
Because of the program's infancy at WJU, Trent hopes to leave some kind of footprint within the wrestling team's foundation.
"I feel like I'm definitely set up for an opportunity to make a mark whether it's being a first time conference champion, or first time national champion, obviously that being the top, but just making my mark in any way I can," Trent said.
Although he grasps onto these goals of leaving his mark, Trent said the ultimate goal is to earn a degree, with current interests in nursing or education, a decision that isn't definite yet.