The Dallas Morning News
Beggs advances to state, but it’s not easy
Transgender wrestler escapes trouble in final, repeats as champion
Mack Beggs escaped a tight situation and won the regional title, setting up a chance for the transgender wrestler to defend his girls title at state next week.
ALLEN — In the third period of the Class 6A Region II girls 110-pound championship match, Coppell’s Khushi Khandelwal found herself with leverage on Euless Trinity’s Mack Beggs. If she could roll over the top, she had the possibility of a pin.
The crowd rose at the brief idea of a possible upset of Beggs, who entered the match 31-0 on the season. Beggs got out of the danger. As the wrestlers reset, two kids on the floor — neither associated with Euless Trinity or Coppell — joked with one another about Beggs, the transgender male wrestler who was placed in the national spotlight at this tournament last year.
“You need more juice,” one mock-yelled, referencing the testosterone Beggs has taken during his transition from female to male.
Beggs went on to pin Khandelwal with three seconds left. The crowd reacted as it did to any other match. As Beggs held up two fingers to represent his second straight regional final win, one of the two teammates sitting in his corner — his coach had left to coach another member of the team — got in a brief shouting match with the two kids.
The Class 6A Region II meet was still a far cry from last year’s, when two wrestlers forfeited to Beggs and a lawsuit to get him to stop wrestling was filed. Beggs’ mother, Angela McNew, said she hadn’t heard any negative comments during the time she was in attendance.
Last year’s lawsuit listed Khandelwal’s father, Pratik, as the plaintiff. The case was ultimately dismissed. On Saturday, Khushi Khandelwal had no hesitation in wrestling Beggs, and the two fist-bumped on the medal podium.
Beggs, 88-0 over the last two years, will head to Cypress next weekend to defend his 110-pound girls state title.
“I’m just trying to do me,” Beggs said of his win. “I’m not focused on anybody else. The haters got to go. That’s just been my attitude, just go, go, go. If you’re not going, you’re going to be left behind.”
There was a slight increase in media presence, but most noticeable was a documentary film crew following Beggs around. McNew said the crew had been off and on with Beggs since October as part of a project that shows the life of junior high and high school transgender students. The plan is for the crew to follow Beggs through his freshman year of college. It could also include his surgeries to help with his transition.
McNew hopes the documentary will educate more people and give strength to others in similar positions as Beggs.
Looking around, McNew got the sense that there were more transgender wrestlers than just her son inside Allen’s competition gym on Saturday.
“There has to be,” McNew said. “I feel like it’s an intimidation thing. I feel like it’s an intimidation that most people don’t want to talk about. Maybe they haven’t told their family, maybe they don’t know. Maybe they’re not sure where they want to go to.”
After Beggs’ medal ceremony, a small boy walked up to McNew, likely recognizing her from her shirt. It was the same one she wore at last year’s state tournament, the one that said “Mack’s mom” on the back.
“Did Mack win this last year?” he asked.
McNew told him he had. “He’s really good,” the boy said.
He then walked away. There were more good wrestlers to watch.