Trinity Brown carves out path of distinction as FCHS’s multi-sport athlete, star student
by Rob Grubbs
High School sports have a way of defining and refining character in today’s student-athletes. Lessons learned on the court or playing field stick along with the other educational components that continue to guide them through life in their future roles as spouse, parent, and leader. We forget through the wins and losses that these athletes are so much more that just players in a game, they embody the future of our country. On occasion, someone catches your eye that not only shows a cool demeanor but also has the intangibles that our country desperately needs in tomorrow’s leadership, innovators who think and challenge the status quo for the better. Fayette County High School has a senior that embodies the qualities that our country starves for in Trinity Brown.
Sports and competition is in Brown’s blood. She is thoughtful, confident and super competitive.
“If we are walking up the steps together, I am going to make sure I beat you to the top,” she shares with a wry smile, making it apparent she was not joking.
In comes from her family. Trinity has lived in Fayetteville her entire life. Her parents, Jennifer and Frankie, moved here in 1995, and she is a product of the Fayette County School System: Hood Avenue Elementary, Fayette Middle (for two years before it closed), Bennett’s Mill, and now Fayette County. Her brother, Tyler played football for the Tigers and now plays for Cumberland College as a linebacker. She comes from a family of basketball players, her uncle Raymond Brown played in the NBA.
She was destined for greatness in sports.
The Fayette County Lady Tigers have had quite a run under head coach John Strickland, including a state championship in 2011. For Trinity, it all started the summer before her freshman season. There were three players in the upcoming freshman class that Strickland knew would be special, Brown, Meaghan Barkley and Rikelle Miller. Playing preseason summer league games at Georgia State, Strickland remembers a key meeting with his future leaders.
“I told them that if they would hang in there with me all four years, good things would happen,” he remembers. “Trinity was a solid leader. Her toughness, her tenacity, and her spirit were key to our program.”
During the trio’s four years, they made the state playoffs three times, including an Elite Eight finish this year. While Trinity is ultra-competitive, she was always comfortable in her role alongside her teammates.
“Rikelle had the outside shot, Meagan would score, and I would penetrate and shoot the short jumpers,” she says. “I was not a stat player. I didn’t get the oohs and ahhs. I know my game, and I knew how it fit with everyone else.”
Watching her play was poetic, she moved in and around the court with ease and never seemed to be lost in the moment. It is almost an intrinsic quality, but to watch her play was equivalent to a director leading a symphonic orchestra.
Lacrosse over basketball
There is only one caveat to her basketball skills, she is even better at a different sport. Lacrosse was designed with Trinity in mind. To succeed in lacrosse, you must have speed, agility, hand-to-eye coordination, and field awareness, which are the same qualities Trinity excelled at on the hardwood. While her basketball talent garnered her All-County First Team honors, her skills on the lacrosse field allowed her to stand out and grab the attention of her teammates, competitors, and fans alike. She is an attacker, which means she is supposed to score goals. They must have superior skills with the lacrosse stick in shooting, passing, and protecting the ball from defenders. While many hide from the spotlight and others get carried away from the glow, it fits Trinity like a glove.
She has parlayed those abilities into a lacrosse scholarship. Along with Alyssa Klinger and Jocelyn Arnold, she shares the distinction of being the first to sign to play at the college level in program history. She will head to The University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Kentucky, 300 miles to our north. The school has an enrollment of approximately 7,000 students and an alums that include governors, military generals, and university presidents, the type of aspirations that Trinity has beyond athletics.
Trinity is an athlete, but that stereotype stops woefully short of defining who she is. As a student, she is an honor graduate, and she credits Fayette County with allowing her to be the person she really is.
“I am outgoing. Everyone knows me, and I am comfortable being me,” she says. “People listen to and respect those they know, and it has put me in a special place here that I am proud of.”
She has carefully planned goals and dreams that are deeper than just a career after college.
“I want to be an attorney,” she says, adding, after a pensive moment, “We have to make our laws more effective. We need the laws to take the lead in making effective change in our world.”
She remembers something Coach Strickland taught her.
“He always said consider your motives and determine if the good outweighs the bad.” Funny how four years of basketball has a deeper influence on students than just the scoreboard’s final tally.
Positive change is at the forefront of her mind. She participated in the recent student-led walkout in support of gun safety, not to be noticed or seen but because it was the right thing to do at the right time.
“I have learned that things can be done the right way,” she says. “We showed what we could do, and we were heard. It has to start somewhere.”
It’s never the right time to rest on your laurels.
“Things have come along way, but if you are just satisfied with where things are, you will never move forward.”
Trinity will move on to the next chapter of her life in August as she packs up and heads to Kentucky. At the same time, a new set of freshmen will enter Fayette County High School, including a new wave of basketball players for Coach Strickland to begin to mold. These girls have been watching Trinity, Megan, and Rikelle play, and now it’s their turn. They will undoubtedly hear Strickland tell the same stories and hold them to the same level as did Trinity and her teammates.
For Trinity, it is a natural progression. You can’t rush the education and development of a young athlete with the aspirations and dreams she has. It will take eight years to complete the educational requirements to gain access to her chosen career, but in true Trinity style, she will use that time to grow herself and lead in a society that starves for leadership.
“If you don’t strive for the best, then what are you doing it for?” she wonders.
That is the tenacity that Coach Strickland saw in her, and it is contagious to everyone around her.
Fayette County is losing a great student-athlete this year, but the world is gaining a young lady who is out to increase her span of influence. That is exactly what our school systems and athletic programs are supposed to do. Trinity has made Fayette County proud and will continue to do so.