Prep wrestling

Portage's Torres aims to beat scale and opponents

2010-12-07T22:00:00Z 2010-12-09T06:14:00Z Portage's Torres aims to beat scale and opponentsBy Jim Peters jim.peters@nwi.com, (219) 548-4363 nwitimes.com
December 07, 2010 10:00 pm  • 

Two-tenths of a pound.

It doesn't seem like much, except that but for Portage's Julian Torres, it meant the end of his first individual state tournament before it even started.

"It was one of the worst days of my life," Torres said.

One of the top 103s in the area, Torres stepped on the scale the Saturday morning of sectionals at LaPorte and it read 105.2. With the two-pound allowance, he could not exceed 105, meaning he could not wrestle.

"Frustration," coach Pat Wilkins said, describing his feelings at the moment. "You hate to see the scale beat a talented wrestler. If he beats the scale, he's the sectional champ. We felt he had a real shot."

Torres got to wrestle again, competing in the Portage Team Regional three days later. He majored Munster's Aurelio Medina, who qualified for the semistate. It was small consolation.

"I felt like the whole season, all the work, was down the drain," Torres said. "I let myself down as well as the team and everyone who had tried to help give me the tools to be a better wrestler."

The misfortune capped several months of weight struggles for Torres, who still managed a solid 22-9 mark.

"We knew it was wearing on him," Wilkins said. "You could tell when he came in the room what kind of day it was going to be. It was always hanging over his head."

For the rest of the season, Torres supported his teammates, specifically senior brother Michael, whom he followed into the sport at a young age.

"He was the main reason I got that far," Torres said. "I owe it all to him. He was able to do what I only dreamed of."

A pep talk from his dad Julio picked up Torres' spirits and he started to channel his energies toward his sophomore season.

"He just told me to keep my chin up, that I've got three more years," he said. "I think it will help build me as a wrestler and get that bad taste out of my mouth. Now when I get down, when I get tired, I think how rotten that was and I work hard  to make sure it doesn't happen again."

Besides the three or four inches and 20 pounds Torres has added, Wilkins noticed some other big changes.

"It looks like he's having fun," Wilkins said. "He's definitely a little more excited to be in the room. "He's concentrating on wrestling, working on his moves, working his offense. He doesn't have that worry in the back of his mind. In four matches, he's shown a lot more quickness. He's putting pressure on guys. He putting two, three shots together instead of one."

Torres is now a comfortable 125, able to stay on weight without nearly as much as stress.

"When you've got something to worry about, it puts a lot of weight on you," he said, not intending the pun. "As long as I come in and work hard every day, there should be no problems at all. I feel very good. I've got a lot of work ahead, but I think I can go far, make it to state and go from there. I feel I have the tools. It's all up to me."

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