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Morning Journal Wrestler of the Year: Armando Torres
JEFF FORMAN/THE NEWS HERALD Elyria’s Armando Torres, bottom, fights off Brecksville’s Aaron Assad in the state championship match in Columbus earlier this month. Torres finished the season with a 39-6 record and was the state runner-up. The season earned Torres, a junior, the Morning Journal Wrestler of the Year honors.
Coming in as a freshman, many expected the Elyria phenom to be a state qualifier each year of his high school career. Instead, a series of unfortunate events ended his first two seasons earlier than expected.
As a freshman Torres injured his knee, which kept him from competing in the postseason tournament.
The following season, Torres was ineligible for the district tournament after failing a controversial skin test.
This past season though, he finally got a fair shot to show the state what he could do.
Torres ripped through just about everyone in his way, losing to just two wrestlers all season long. His 39-6 record, along with finishing as the state runner-up at 113, was more than enough to earn him the Morning Journal’s Wrestler of the Year honors.
Still, he has a little unfinished business to take care of.
“The past two years, I couldn’t really get a fair shot. This year, I finally got my shot,” he said. “I’m still hungry, though. This isn’t going to cut it. I’m going for a state championship.”
Unfortunately for Torres, five of his six losses on the season came at the hands of Brecksville’s Aaron Assad including losses at the Walsh Ironman, Bill Dies and the state championship match in Columbus earlier this month.
Torres was gracious in defeat.
“It was a pleasure to wrestle (Aaron). He’s a tough wrestler and a good kid,” Torres said. “I wish it would have came out differently at the end, but it didn’t and I have to keep my head up.”
The only other wrestler to defeat Torres during the season was Jaret Singh, of Kearney, Mo., at the Walsh Ironman.
Not only is Torres proficient on the mat, but he’s also a star in the classroom.
“Armando is a very smart kid. He’s over a 4.4 grade point average,” Elyria coach Erik Burnett said. “He takes the hardest classes you can take; the kid’s a success. He has all the intangibles and qualities for being a super kid.”
While Burnett knows Torres had a successful season, he also knows that Torres is not quite satisfied.
“He had a great season. Armando beat some studs this year,” Burnett said. “I’m sure he’ll look back on this season as an overall success, but right now, he’s not looking at it like a success. That’s how winners think.”
Some of those ‘studs’ that Torres defeated over the season included Conner Ziegler, of Cincinnatti Moeller, Jimmy Ferrito, of St. Ignatius, Dakota Riley, of Mt. Vernon, and Jared Davis, of Oregon Clay. All four were ranked in the top-10 in the state by Intermat’s Josh Lowe.
His Achilles heel, all season long, though, was Assad.
The first four matches between the two were decided by a total of five points, but none was as heartbreaking as the fifth, and final, one.
After leading the entire championship match, Torres found himself clinging to a 3-2 lead over his rival with 20 seconds on the clock being the only thing separating him from a state title. That’s when Assad made his move and scored a takedown to take the lead. The Brecksville senior won the match, and the state title, 7-3.
Rather than just viewing the final match purely as a disappointment, Torres believes it will spur him next season.
“This is definitely motivation for next year,” he said. “I don’t want to feel that feeling again that I felt after that match. I’m going to keep working hard.”
“The bottom line is you need to get better every year,” Burnett said. “If Armando wants to do better next year than he did this year, then that means he needs to win this thing.”
The pressure will be on Torres next year, as he’ll certainly be the prohibitive favorite to win state when the season begins.
Last Updated: 3/16/2013 11:02:43 PM EST