Faces in KS: Tristan Speer

Tristan Speer of Troy is the definition of athlete.(photo: Rox's Images)
By: Sports in Kansas - Chet Kuplen
Oct 30, 2014

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Tristan Speer, senior from Troy, is the definition of athlete. However, he isn't your typical multi-sport athlete. He plays the rare combo of quarterback/defensive tackle during football season and perhaps the most rare, he wrestles and plays basketball in the winter. The most normal thing he does may be playing baseball in the spring. Sure there are many kids in the state that play multiple sports and do them well, but the things Speer does you just don't see too often, if at all.

"The combination of playing QB and DT is unique for sure. His wrestling background helps him in the trenches on defense. He is somewhat forced to play D-Line for us as he is one of only three kids we have weighing in at around 200 pounds. The basketball/wrestling combo is a tough feat to pull off and it is very wearing on him during the winter months." Troy head coach, Derek Jasper said. 

Last season as a junior in football, he accounted for over 1,000 total yards of offense and 14 touchdowns. Speer also captured the 195-pound state wrestling title with a perfect 37-0 record. At the same time on the basketball court, he averaged eight points per game. In baseball, he hit three home runs in 19 games last spring. 

His senior season has been a breakout season for Speer on the football field as he has passed for 1,865 yards and 29 touchdowns for the Trojans (7-1). He has only thrown one interception in 179 pass attempts, completing 69 percent of his throws. He has also rushed for 212 yards and five touchdowns. On defense he has 22 tackles and four sacks.

"He is the engine that drives our team offensively. Everything is based around him at the quarterback position," Jasper said.  

Speer is not a speed guy and uses his strength and power to his advantage. Speer's big time arm and decision making ability is what sets him apart from most high school quarterbacks.

"He throws the deep ball as well as anyone as I've seen at the high school level," Jasper said. "His arm and intelligence make him a big time high school quarterback. He will make someone a nice player at the next level".

Fierce competitor is what comes to mind when you are describing Speer. He makes the athletes around him better with his winning mentality. With a perfect wrestling record last year and a 90-17 overall career record in wrestling, he doesn't lose much. It's safe to say he likes to win. 

"Tristan is such a competitor who hates to lose at anything he does. That attitude of refusing to lose rubs off on his teammates." Jasper said.

Speer will look to defend his title in wrestling this year, but for now it's all football for Speer and the Trojans.

"We have to play great defense and special teams to give us a shot in the playoffs," Speer said. "We also need to be able to control the clock. This season has went good but we have a lot more to accomplish."

Speer is also very close to closing in on some of the Troy High School football passing records. He has 5,467 yards and 74 touchdowns in his career. The record holder and Speer are very familiar: Coach Jasper, who was an all-state quarterback for Troy in the early nineties. 

"Might have to call all running plays for the rest of the year," Jasper said laughingly. 

Troy finishes the regular season in districts this Friday with a road match-up against Immaculata (0-8). The Trojans have already captured the 2-1A District I title. Their only loss on the season came to 3A Centralia (50-14) win week two. Troy has eight playoff wins in the history of their program and this is the second consecutive year they have made the playoffs under Jasper. We caught up with Tristan below...

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Q&A w/ Speer

How did you get involved in athletics?

My father got me started wrestling at the Age if 3, and sports have taken off from there. 

How has the 2014 football season went for you?

This year has gone pretty good, but the team and I still have goals we need to accomplish 

You are a unique athlete playing DT and QB, also wrestling and playing basketball, have you seen this before?

No I have not! 

What do you do in the offseason, if you have one, to prepare for all the sports you play?

In the offseason I rest and have a summer job. Lift weights when I can and throw to my receivers whenever possible.

Do you plan on wrestling or playing football at the next level?

I plan on doing one or the other.

How cool was it for you to win a state wrestling championship undefeated last year?

Winning state was expected out of me, but was still pretty cool. 

What is your goal this year for football and wrestling?

To win a state title in football, to repeat as an undefeated state champ in wrestling and to return to the state tournament in baseball and hopefully be successful there.

How does playing multiple sports make you a better athlete?

Each sport requires discipline and determination! 

What is it like to play in Coach Jasper's offense?

Coach Jasper's offense is very balanced relying on both the run and pass, I enjoy running his offense with the freedom he allows me to have. 

What will it take for you guys to make a run in the playoffs?

Great defense, special teams, and controlling the clock will be a key for a deep playoff run.

Best football player you've played against?

Michael Glatczak from Centralia

What is it like to grow up in Troy?

Everybody knows everyone, the community really gets behind a team that has success. 

Favorite subject in school?

History 

One thing the average person wouldn't know about you?

Two-time state champion in peddle tractor pulling as a child. Four year starter on both sides of the ball.