Triton’s Torres Earns All-American Honors With Fourth Place Finish at Nationals
Team places 21st; All six wrestlers earn at least one win
River Grove, IL--Sophomore Jose Torres (Cicero-Morton) wrestled his way to All-American status this past weekend when he finished fourth in the 125 pounds bracket at the National Junior College Athletics Association (NJCAA) National Championships in Rochester, Minnesota.
Torres opened his tournament run with a 12-3 major decision against Jesse O’Camb of Yakima Valley. Progressing to the second round, via an escape and a technical violation against his opponent, Torres would up end Ridgewater College’s Lonny Booshu, 2-1.
In the championship quarterfinals, Torres used a dizzying mix of takedowns and back points to defeat fifth ranked Kamron Day of Northwest College, 10-6 to secure All-American status.
“I felt absolutely great in those first three matches,” Torres said. “I felt confident in all of them, even the one against Booshu. Most of that was just feeling out the other guy’s style, but I was able to capitalize on his mistake and came away with the win.
Against Day, I felt like I couldn’t lose going into the match. My takedowns were working and I was able to put him on his back to increase the lead to make it out of his reach. I am beyond excited right now.”
In the semifinals, Torres would face 2011 NJCAA All-American Steve Romero. In a tightly contested bout that would see only one takedown scored, Torres ended up on the losing end, 4-1.
Dropping to the consolation semifinals, the Triton team co-captain would record a 7-2 win against Garrett Jones of Labette to make his way to the consolation finals for third place.
Much like his championship semifinals, Torres would drop a close 5-2 decision against two-time NJCAA All-American Jacob Colon to finish in fourth place.
“What can I say? Last year I didn’t win a single match at the District Tournament to qualify for Nationals and this year I end up with 40 wins and earned All-American status,” Torres said through a smile. “I wanted to be a National Champion, but I am not at all unhappy with how this ended.”
Triton Head Coach Harry McGinnis was as happy as his wrestler.
“Jose is an exceptional kid,” McGinnis said. “He works hard in the classroom, hard in the workout room and he’s a great person to boot. I’m sad that he’ll be leaving us after this season, but I am thrilled of the opportunities he created for himself through endless amounts of hard work and dedication to becoming an All-American. I’m just proud of him.”
Triton also qualified six other athletes to the tournament this past weekend.
At 184 pounds, sophomore Christian Alcantara (Burbank-Reavis) had to drop out of the tournament due to a ruptured appendix he suffered the week prior to the national tournament, which required hospitalization.
Triton’s 133 pounds representative, sophomore Devante McCloud (Country Club Hills-Rich Central), would go 1-2 at the tournament, recording a 7-1 decision against Blaine Smith of Iowa Lake along the way.
Freshman Travis Fuller (Millington-Sandwich) would earn a 7-5 win against Devin Kammer of Niagara CC before bowing out of his first national tournament.
Jose Mariscal (Cicero-Morton), a talented freshman at 149 pounds, used his unorthodox style to pull out a 16-14 decision against Terry Harris of Darton through a flurry of takedowns, back points and reversals for both men.
Sophomore Jeremy Walters (Crete Monee) had a very bright spot in the tournament when he pinned returning NJCAA All-American Eric Telford of Muskegon CC in the wrestle backs at 157 pounds.
“Coach McGinnis drew up a game plan for me before the match,” said Walters. “We were going to stay on our feet the whole match and I knew I could beat him there.”
Up 6-2 via three takedowns going into the third period, Telford chose top and immediately threw in the legs.
“On top is where he always scored his points,” Walters said. “We knew he would throw legs the moment he had a chance and this time we were ready.”
With Telford on top, Walters went to a tripod stand up, shook his opponent off his back, scored a reversal and then the fall.
Prior to that match, Walters was 0-4 lifetime against Telford.
At 165 pounds, Triton co-captain Lenny Kuspa was unable to reach the medal stand in his last effort in the NJCAA tournament. Though he scored a major decision in the consolation first round, Kuspa would fall to his for from nearby Harper College, 7-2.
“I’m disappointed in how my tournament ended today,” Kuspa stated. “I’d beaten [Finkenbinder of Harper] twice early on this season, but he was able to get the best of me a few weeks back and again today to knock me out of the tournament. [The loss] stings.”
As a team, with all of their athletes earning a win, Triton College finished 21st overall with 20.5 points and fifth among non-scholarship colleges.
“I’m very proud of all of our guys today,” said McGinnis. “Everyone won a match and added to the team’s total. Of course we were hoping for a few more All-Americans, but that wasn’t to be and that’s okay.”
McGinnis went on to talk about next year’s team and the great things he sees from them already.
“We’ll be anchored by two returning national qualifiers in [Mariscal] and [Fuller]. Add to that our coaching staff has been recruiting kids from all across the country for next season and we’re receiving great interest from a lot of Illinois state place winners and others from Arizona, New Jersey and a few other states. The 2012-13 season is going to be an exciting one for Triton College wrestling.”
Triton College Wrestling is seeking hard working, dedicated student-wrestlers to become part of our historic program and compete against the best teams in the country at every college level. For more information about Triton College Wrestling and Triton College, please visit us on the web at http://www.triton.edu/Content.aspx?id=7156
and fill out our online recruitment form, http://www.triton.edu/Content.aspx?id=6939
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. You may also visit us in person on campus by contacting Head Coach Harry McGinnis at (708) 456-0300, extension 3784 or by email at email@example.com