TEXARKANA, Ark. — Trinity Christian School is a private school nestled away on the outer parts of the Arkansas side. Inside the walls of the school, however, are some of the most talented track and field athletes in the state of Arkansas.
The Warriors have won three consecutive track and field championships on the boys side and before the coronavirus pandemic, had a good chance of defending their title this spring.
"It was great fun," Trinity Christian School head track and field coach Russ Nelson said. "Two years ago, we had a team that was loaded from top to bottom. We had a little bit of everything. We had a really good triple jumper, pole vaulter and a really good thrower. Some of those guys were able to walk into the meet and pull off the win. The second year, we lost a few of those guys to graduation but we had some really strong distance runners that were able to score a lot of points. We were also able to get a lot of points in our field events that year.
"Last year, was probably the toughest out of all three. On the boys side, we only qualified four boys for the state meet. Those four scored 65 points and won the meet. I told those guys going into it that we had a chance but every one of them had to do their job. I assigned each one of them a certain number of points that I felt like they had to get for us to have a shot at winning. Each one of them either scored the number of points I asked of them or more."
Although the Warriors have won multiple titles, Nelson and his bunch are not content but strive to get better each day.
"We've done real well," Nelson said. "Over the years, we've won a lot of titles. Jeff Haynes is the reason for that and he laid the foundation for the culture. The kids expect to perform well. Even last year, if you've asked me what I thought before the state meet, I would've told you we were going to finish in the top three.
"Each year, those guys have found a way to pull it off. Right before that, we've had a run on the girls side in track. I can't remember how may state championships they won but it was kinda the same situation. About the time we lost all our female track athletes, all the male track athletes started to come along. Now, we have good strength on the boys side and we also have some really good athletes on the girls side as well. Our junior high girls team is really strong, so I could see that flipping back to their side in the near future."
Nelson attributes past Warrior runners to his current squad's success.
"A lot of the kids want to compete and do well for each other," Nelson said. "Most of them also have aspirations of competing on the next level. For such a small school, we have four competing on the college level this spring before the cancellations. So the kids see that and see that they can also make it to the next level if they work hard."