LAYTON, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – When Maria Gomez heard her daughter. Trinity Speredon, wanted to take up wrestling four years ago, she was a little apprehensive.
“I was wary at first, obviously as a mother — a protective mother,” Maria said.
But Trinity had a knack for it, and after dominating girls wrestlers in junior high and high school, she had no choice but to wrestle boys if she wanted to improve — and that’s exactly what she did.
She remembers the first time she beat a boy on the mat.
“I head threw him and pinned him in the first round,” Trinity said with a smile.
What was his reaction?
“He was kind of in shock,” Trinity said. “A lot of guys think, well, she’s a girl, so she’s not going to be tough. She’s not going to be good. But I’m happy to say that I’ve proved most people wrong.”
“I saw her as a wild, spirited warrior,” Maria said. “And she inspired me to be brave too.”
So much so, that Maria helped start a movement to get girls wrestling officially sanctioned by the Utah High School Activities Association. Next year, that dream becomes a reality as girls will be able to wrestle girls throughout the state.
Just five years ago there were only a handful of girls high school wrestlers. Now, there are over 300.
“Being a female leader in a male dominant sport can be very intimidating,” said Maria. “But I said to myself, we can do this. We can find women, and we did. Visually seeing other girls on the mat and seeing women leadership, that is why I was very passionate about this movement.”
The ultimate goal is to have enough skilled female wrestlers. that girls can wrestle only other girls at the high school level.
“National competitions are girls versus girls,” Maria said. “Our girls should be wrestling other girls. This is why we pushed for the sanctioning of girls wrestling. I’m a firm believer of separating. That way, the women are being honored in their sport and validated.”
While Maria was working to get girls wrestling on the map, by starting an organization called Northern Utah Girls Wrestling, Trinity kept improving on the mat. But last year, Trinity tore her ACL during a match, and sunk into dark times.
“I fell into a depression, basically,” Trinity said. “But it kind of made me realize that I was putting too much of my time into the sport. I wasn’t really working on other areas of my life. I ended up growing more spiritually, more mentally stronger and tougher.”
As for that match when she got hurt?
“I ended up finishing the match and ended up winning anyway,” Trinity said proudly. “I was sad and knew my season was over, but at least I beat the kid.”
With a record of 15-2, Trinity is ranked in the top-5 amongst girls wrestlers in the state, and next week will compete in the All-Star Duels Meet at Utah Valley University.
She wrestles boys and girls, depending on the other teams rosters, and still gets mixed reactions from her opponents. But Trinity doesn’t care. She’s doing what she loves, and emboldening other girls.
“I’ve noticed that a lot of girls look up to me, and I inspire a lot of girls, which is kind of crazy and kind of embarrassing sometimes,” Trinity said. “But, when I realize that I’m leading a sisterhood and I’m leading all these girls to become their best versions of themselves. So, that’s really exciting.”