The Dallas Morning News

Beggs advances to state, but it’s not easy

Transgende­r wrestler escapes trouble in final, repeats as champion

- Twitter: @michaelflo­rek

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.

 ?? Stewart F. House/Special Contributo­r ?? Mack Beggs of Euless Trinity warms up before a match at the Class 6A Region II girls wrestling meet. Beggs took the title, moving to 88-0 over the last two years, and will head to this week’s UIL state meet aiming for a second straight title.
Stewart F. House/Special Contributo­r Mack Beggs of Euless Trinity warms up before a match at the Class 6A Region II girls wrestling meet. Beggs took the title, moving to 88-0 over the last two years, and will head to this week’s UIL state meet aiming for a second straight title.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States