TRU GRIT: T-Ducks falter, new faces in the pros

The Richland T-Ducks wrestling team fell short at the Southwest Conference Tournament and finished in second place behind the University of North Texas (UNT) with a score of 76-71. The University of Texas (UT) was third followed by Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Texas State, and Houston.  The Richland women’s team was runner-up to UNT in the women’s division this past weekend as well. 

Richland will be well represented with seven men and three women (Maripo Gasarabaga, George Haskins, Asad Mohammad, James Moore, Dustin Basham, Hugo Martinez, Kendrall Willis, Mireya Cortez, Yaritza Arteaga and Alexus Sauceda) in the National Collegiate Wrestling Association (NAWA) National Tournament taking place in Allen on March 9 to 11. 

In basketball, it was a painful ending to a wonderful season for the Richland men’s team. The Thunderducks lost to North Lake in the Metro Athletic Conference (MAC championship game, 72-60. They should have kept the championship game at Richland after the impressive home court advantage in their tournament game against Brookhaven.

Overall it was an impressive season for third-year coach Jon Havens and the Thunderducks. 

The baseball squad is off to a rocky start in the MAC but it’s still early in the season with Richland only a couple of games below .500. The T-Ducks are flying high in the offensive ranks of Region 5 in runs, RBIs, on-base, slugging, and batting average. The T-Ducks faced North Central Texas to end February and will face Mountain View and Rock Valley to lead off March. 

Spring training is under way in major league baseball. The defending American League West champion Rangers team is looking to avenge last season’s disappointment. Most of the roster is still intact but there are some new faces. I’m not so sure about Mike Napoli since he’s been with the Rangers twice before. Pitcher Yu Darvish is looking to come back from a rebuilding season to add more firepower once again with ace Cole Hamels.

The Mavericks picked up third-year man Nerlens Noel from Philadelphia after losing Deron Williams and Andrew Bogut. The former first-rounder could learn a lot from veteran Dirk Nowitzki as Noel looks to improve in Dallas after two and a half disappointing seasons with the 76ers. Believe it or not, the Mavs are only three games behind the final playoff spot in the West.  The (NCAA) National Championship basketball tournament will begin soon after conference tournaments as Kansas once again wins the Big 12 conference for the 13th straight regular season, as the bracket itself will continue to shuffle on and on.

Mack Beggs of Euless recently won the state championship in girls’ wrestling despite the fact that the transgender athlete is transitioning from female to male. It’s obvious that females in the tournament were a bit intimidated having to face the junior wrestler from Trinity High School. Richland’s Bill Neal said, “The transgender situation is an ongoing debate every year.  Rules prohibit any competition between women and men and the ruling defaults to the birth certificate. Another distraction that is not good for the sport.” 

Indeed it is ongoing and will continue to be a distraction. Clearly in recent photos, Beggs doesn’t look like a woman and, as he said before, he wanted to wrestle boys. Now that Mack is male, the University Interscholastic League should have let him wrestle boys. Beggs’ family obviously has medical proof of his transition and since the high school wrestling season is over, it’s time for the UIL to get to work. Stop having these district reclassifications every two years and do something about high school athletes making controversial moves before the matter heads to court. And then the judge will lay the smackdown on either Beggs or the UIL.