During the March 2022 NCAA wrestling championships, hundreds of athletes competed under bright lights and amid the thrum of a crowd of more than 60,000 fans over three days in Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. For the wrestlers, the championships represented the culmination of a lifetime’s worth of dedication to the sport, delayed opportunities due to the pandemic and a chance to honor family, friends and themselves. The NCAA hired Trilix cinematographers to capture it all.

Trilix has been privileged to work with the NCAA on the wrestling championships for nearly a decade, and our cinematographers have been following some of the athletes who competed in the 2022 championships for seven years.

We want to make videos that transcend the sport.

James Drescher, cinematographer at Trilix

For months, our video team got ready by prepping a cartload of equipment, assigning video shooters and editors who work tirelessly during the three-day event, analyzing the championship schedule and mapping out which athletes they wanted to interview. One of the most important components of the preproduction process is planning the types of videos our cinematographers and editors will produce. To do that, our team presented concepts to the NCAA.

“We want to make videos that transcend the sport,” said James Drescher, cinematographer. “We’re telling personal stories that show these individuals’ passion, and viewers can see that even if they don’t know or appreciate wrestling. For those who do love the sport, these pieces serve as a deeper dive into the minds of these athletes and the championship.”

Our team debuted a new concept this year — “My Title” videos, which were released before the championship. Our cinematographers interviewed previous national title winners, allowing them to take a seat in front of the camera, share their unfiltered stories and celebrate their accomplishments. 

I edit so that the stories people tell inspire others.

Sydney Dhabalt, video producer and editor at Trilix

“The ‘My Title’ videos help attract new fans to the sport and allow die-hard fans to hear a breakdown of how past title winners navigated the championship; their mindset before, during and after the match; and other pieces of information they wouldn’t know unless they talked to the athlete directly,” explained Sydney Dhabalt, video producer and editor. “I edit so that the stories people tell inspire others.”   

Another standout piece from 2022 was born from a viral 2021 social media post that united wrestlers of color. Last year, five African American wrestlers won a national title for the first time. Those athletes supported each other and took a picture together during last year’s championship.

“That picture is more than just winning an NCAA title,” explained Roman Bravo-Young, one of the wrestlers who was pictured in the viral photo. “I hope that inspires a lot of other Black and African American kids.”

Letter videos, a concept Trilix began in 2017, returned this year, as well. The letters, which allow wrestlers to dictate their own stories, often serve as motivational messages athletes write to themselves.

This year, our cinematographers highlighted Iowa athlete Jaydin Eierman. Through an emotional message, the wrestler described how the sport built his confidence and how his family tirelessly supported him.

Through it all, our cinematographers and editors worked as a team to capture about 5 terabytes of footage in three days to produce more than 15 videos that captured the heart and dedication that embodies the NCAA wrestling championships.