Augusta Christian 170-pounder Trent Williams finished an umblemished senior season with a perfect performance at the South Carolina Independent School Association State Wrestling Tournament.
“I didn’t give up a single point the entire states,” said Williams. “It was determination and focus. I had come that far. I had an undefeated season coming back off a knee injury and I wasn’t about to let it slip.”
Just getting to the states may have been a trick in itself with some of the factors lining up against Williams early on in the 2013-14 season as he injured his right knee during football. Even with the setback, head coach Bret Cooper liked the attitude displayed by the senior on a team laden with young wrestlers.
“Early in the season, he suffered from a knee injury which kept him out of the first few matches,” said Cooper. “This was an injury sustained prior to wrestling season but caused him discomfort during the beginning of the season. During this time, he still attended practice and matches and led by example on the sideline.”
Wrestling for four years, Cooper utilized Williams in the role of an assistant coach. Williams was worried that he might not progress as he should wrestling less-experienced wrestlers, but first-year coach Cooper helped Williams reach his goals.
“Coach Cooper stepped up and said ‘you know I want you to have a good season this year so I’m going to challenge you,’ and we went to work,” Williams said. “I think it helped dealing with the extra weight, helped me to be able to move fluidly on the mat because he’s about 220 and I wrestle 170. When I got out there those guys felt real light.”
When he got to the state tournament, Williams was seeded first and wrestled three matches, winning with pins in all three.
His first lasted one round; his second match against a wrestler from Pinewood Prep went the distance before he pinned his final opponent in the first round for the championship.
Reaching that pinnacle was something that he seemed natural for, even though he had to wait to officially start his sport.
“I’ve been roughhousing and wrestling with kids in my neighborhood since I was 7 or 8,” said Williams.
“It wasn’t offered until high school. I always wanted to do it. It fascinated me.”
Still, when he reached his goal, he wasn’t sure it was real.
“It didn’t feel real at first,” said Williams, who called his hard work paying off amazing.
“I was like ‘did that really just happen, did I just wrestle my last high school match.’ My match with the kid from Pinewood Prep was much harder, longer, drug out, so when it happened I was like, ‘I just won states.’ It didn’t seem like it actually happened.”
In Williams’ sophomore season, Alex Strother wrestled the same weight class, winning a state title, and was something of a mentor to Williams.
“It felt really good to follow in his footsteps,” Williams said.
“Every single match I’ve ever had, including summer tournaments, he’s always been in my corner.”
Williams hopes to wrestle in college and has an offer from Washington and Jefferson College in Pennsylvania among others. Shorter University in Rome, Ga. is where he would ultimately like to end up wrestling, but is ready to handle what happens no matter the location.
“The next level will provide lots of challenges,” he said. “I’m not afraid, I’ll wrestle anyone, put the whole thing in God’s hands.”