By STEVE KRAH
Stay Calm and Wrestle.
It’s an approach that has worked well for Chesterton High School senior grappler Aidan Torres.
“I always try and keep my composure and don't let little things get to me,” says Torres, who is 27-0 in 2022-23 after winning the 145-pound title at Mishawaka’s Al Smith Classic Dec. 29-30. “If the ref makes a bad call, leave it to the coaches to argue it. Don’t let it get in my head.
“I’m always to try to keep my composure and never lash out.”
In reigning at Mishawaka, top seed Torres earned a first-period pin and major decision on the first day and technical fall, 4-1 decision and first-period pin on the second day.
Torres, an Indiana University commit who turns 18 in January, bested Westfield senior Ike O’Neill in the finals and helped Chesterton placed 10th in the 32-team event.
A three-time IHSAA State Finals placer, Torres placed sixth at 126 in 2020, eighth at 132 in 2021 and third at 145 in 2022.
He is the son of Leelo and Jennifer Torres. He has three older brothers — Nicholas, Isaac and Hunter. Seventh grader Noah is his younger brother and wrestler.
Andy Trevino is in his second season as head wrestling coach at Chesterton.
Trevino took over the program from Chris Joll, who led Chesterton to state runner-up team finishes in 2017 and 2021 and produced 10 sectional, two regional and two semistate championship squad. There were 47 individual state qualifiers and five state champions.
To compete with the best in the state, Trevino says a team has to have its share of year-round wrestlers mixed in with multi-sport athletes.
“You embrace the grind and enjoy the process,” says Trevino. “You’ve got to learn by making mistakes. If you’re afraid to do anything you’re never going to get better.
“Kids have to learn grit and battle through some things. The better kids are working harder. There’s a lot of them.”
The 2022-23 coaching staff also features Brian Bolin, Mike Engberg, Scott Mundell and Brock Peele.
Trevino was a 140-pound state champion for Calumet in 1991 — his senior year. Trained by Warriors head coach Jim Wadkins, he was also a state qualifier at 119 in 1989 and placed fourth at 125 in 1990. His career record was 127-7.
He earned four letters and 70 victories and was a two-time Big Ten placer, NCAA Championship qualifier and team captain at Indiana University for Hoosiers head coaches Joe McFarland and Duane Goldman.
As a coach, Trevino was an assistant at Lake Central, head coach at East Chicago Central and assistant in wrestling and football at Calumet before coming to Chesterton, where he is also a physical education teacher.
Trevino, who has known Torres for a long time having also worked with him at the club level, assesses the athlete.
“He’s a hard-working kid that at a young age decided to love the sport,” says Trevino of Torres. “He’s a student of the sport and he’s always looking to better himself.
“He’s very knowledgable in wrestling. He flows very well. He transitions from move to move. He makes it look simple.”
In serving as a leader for the Trojans, Torres does his best to keep it positive.
“Wrestling’s a very hard sport and it’s a love-hate relationship for sure,” says Torres. “I try to keep everybody happy and always be excited about hard work, getting better.”
Says Trevino, “He’s not real vocal, but what he does everybody sees it because as a team leader he’s doing it first and he’s doing it right. He can speak to the team and he’s sat them down and explained to them that there’s no magic to wrestling or being good at anything other than being consistent, training more often, being on the mat more often and believing in yourself.
“That’s what he does all the time.”
Torres has taken to the mental training promoted by Engberg.
“He makes sure you’re in the right mental state,” says Torres. “Before a match if there’s any negative thought in my head I instantly replace it. You can’t cut out all doubt, but you can easily replace it with a positive thought like nobody’s worked as hard as me.
“So any doubt I have we’re trying to flush it right now.”
Torres plans to pursue Environmental and Sustainable Energy Studies at IU.
“I took AP Environmental Science last year and I got my college credit,” says Torres. “I thought it was super interesting.
“I’m thinking that there will be a lot of job openings too, because of how our world is leaning towards renewable energy.”
Chesterton has Duneland Athletic Conference duals against Michigan City Jan. 4 and at Valparaiso Jan. 11.
The DAC meet at LaPorte is Jan. 14, followed by a dual against LaPorte Jan. 18. Then comes the Lake Station Super 8 Jan. 21.
The state tournament series for the Trojans features the LaPorte Sectional Jan. 28, Crown Point Regional Feb. 4, East Chicago Semistate Feb. 11 and IHSAA State Finals Feb. 17-18 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.