Colfax-Mingo senior Trystin Ross was a contributor to the Tigerhawk defense for three seasons.
He made an impact sooner at linebacker for Colfax-Mingo’s football team. But after a breakout season at wide receiver, the opportunities for Ross to extend his career grew.
And he took advantage of one of those opportunities at William Penn University.
“I had heard many good things about William Penn in the past and getting offered from them really made the decision for itself,” said Ross, who plans to play wide receiver for the Statesmen.
Colfax-Mingo head football coach Jeff Lietz got an up close look at what William Penn’s football team looked like the past four seasons. His son Jake played at Grand View University, which is in the same conference as William Penn.
Lietz said he invited the coaching staff from William Penn to a game this past season and they liked what they saw from Ross.
“With his size and his hands, I thought he would be a great fit as a tight end or H-Back type player,” Lietz said. “I thought he fit the mold of what they want in a player.”
Lietz also mentioned that William Penn is close to Red Rock Lake, and Ross loves to fish and hunt. So that’s another reason playing for William Penn in Oskaloosa made some sense.
“I’m happy he chose to go there,” Lietz said.
Ross had opportunities to play football or baseball and opportunities to wrestle. In the end, his final decisions came down to football and baseball.
Besides William Penn, Ross had opportunities to play football at Grand View University, Iowa Western Community College and Iowa Central Community College.
His opportunities for baseball were at William Penn and Grand View.
“The decision was no doubt tough for me,” Ross said. “I mainly chose football over baseball because my parents and I think it’s the best fit for me. We talked and talked about it. I know football is hard on your body, but I love the grind that comes with it and I can’t wait for what William Penn has in store for me.
“Baseball is a wonderful sport, and I will never get enough of it, by my heart and family chose football.”
Ross played sparingly as a freshman at Colfax-Mingo, tallying 7.5 tackles and a fumble recovery on defense.
He improved his tackle total to 25.5 as a sophomore and recovered three fumbles. Ross also produced 44 yards and a touchdown on four catches as a receiver.
Ross led the Tigerhawks in tackles the past two seasons. As a junior, he had 49.5 tackles, a fumble recovery and a sack.
On offense, he had 28 catches for 187 yards and a TD and also rushed for 56 yards.
The numbers jumped significantly in his final season. Defensively, he had a team-high 67 tackles as well as one sack, one interception and three fumble recoveries.
The improvement as a receiver was even bigger. He went from 28 catches as a junior to a school-record 81 as a senior.
His yardage total bumped from 187 to 879 and he hauled in a school-record 14 TDs and rushed for 37 yards.
“He put in the time. We worked his tail off to be a more impactful player on offense,” Lietz said. “He wants to be the best at everything he does. He wasn’t satisfied at being just a good player.
“We know Trystin is not fast. But he runs his routes so hard every time. And his attitude helps him, too.”
Todd Hafner has been head coach at William Penn for 16 seasons and is 98-69 overall. After going 7-4 for four straight years, the Statesmen have been 4-7 and 4-6-1 the past two seasons. Nearly 20 seniors were lost to graduation this past fall.
“When I went to William Penn on a visit, the coaches, students and players I got to meet made me feel like family,” Ross said.