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Trinity hires Powell as new wrestling coach

Posted Monday, August 06, 2012 by Paul Reihner
To get the Trinity High School wrestling program back to elite status, the school board hired a head coach at Thursday’s school board meeting who is familiar with the program: Mark Powell.

The 27-year-old Powell walked the same halls, studied in the same classes and competed in the same gymnasium as the current crop of Hillers. Not only is Powell a Trinity graduate, he competed on the 2002 team that won a WPIAL Class AAA Team Tournament title and finished second in the PIAA tournament.

“I have lofty goals,” said Powell. “You have to set high goals to be successful. Ultimately, we want to win championships.”

Powell replaces Mike Marino, who resigned in May. Marino did a good job rebuilding a program that had dramatically slipped since Powell left. Powell wants to continue that progress.

“Canon-McMillan has set the bar pretty high,” Powell said. “We want to get to that level. Our short-term goals: make the team tournament next year. In a handful of years, we want to be able to compete for a WPIAL title.”

Powell takes over a Trinity team that has been moved back into Canon-McMillan’s section for at least the next two seasons. He sees that as a positive.

“The rivalry there is like no other,” Powell said. “Trinity has been down for a while, but we’ll be back. We’re excited about the section. It is one of the tougher sections.”

Powell is second on Trinity’s career victory list with 134, seven shy of tying Andy Migyanko. He won a Powerade title and was a two-time WPIAL runner-up. Powell was a three-time state qualifier and finished seventh at 140 pounds in 2004, his senior season.

Powell wrestled at Purdue University, but injuries plagued his career. He was a team captain in his fourth season and received a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA to compete. Powell used the extra year to wrestle for Pitt while he was in postgraduate studies.

“I hate to see him go,” Hughes said. “But this is a good move for him.”

Powell believes one of his strengths is his familiarity with the local wrestling scene.

“Being a Trinity grad and living in the area, I never took my eye off the program,” he said. “I kept in touch with Mike Marino, and I saw their wrestlers at the county tournament.”

Powell is keenly aware of expectations fans have for Trinity wrestling, and he welcomes that challenge.

“The Trinity program has always had high standards,” he said. “Year in and year out, they reached those standards. But the numbers dropped off. Wrestling is a numbers game. You’ve got to get the kids out and keep them out. You have to turn the poor wrestler into an average wrestler, an average wrestler into a good wrestler and a good wrestler into a great wrestler. I believe in the system.”


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