Torres a humble leader on the track

By Tiffany Roesler

Some people dread running, some sports use it as forms of
punishment. But for senior distance runner Jersain Torres, running
is what he likes to do on a daily basis.

So far this season, Torres has competed in five events,
including the 1,500-meter run, the 3,000, the 5,000, the 10,000 and
the 3,000 steeplechase.

At the Triton Invitational in La Jolla on April 23, Torres ran
the men’s 1,500 in 3 minutes, 56.94 seconds to place eighth. It was
the best time in that event for Cal Poly Pomona athletes this
year.

During the Mt. SAC Relays on April 15, Torres ran a season-best
time of 30:48.72 in the 10,000 to place 52nd overall in a
predominantly-Div. I field of competition.

Torres’ best time in the 3,000 steeplechase occurred May 1, when
he placed fifth with a time of 9:23.35 at UC Irvine’s Steve Scott
Invitational. His time just missed the national qualifying mark of
9:20.00.

The Fullerton native began his running career in high school
where he originally was a wrestler but decided to give track and
field a try after not knowing what else to do.

“At first, I wanted to be a sprinter, but I wasn’t really good
at it,” said Torres. “I think that in a form of punishment for not
doing good, they threw me in the long-distance races. Ever since
then, I started doing really good. That first race, I believe I won
it, and everybody was pretty surprised.”

Love at first race or not, his newfound talent in distance
running was one thing he wouldn’t be able to outrun.

“You sit down and you talk with him, you come to find out that
he absolutely loves running,” said senior distance runner Matthew
Prentice. “I think that’s pretty much the number one thing he loves
to do ” he loves to run.”

When Torres isn’t training, competing, being a full-time student
or working, he loves to draw.

His works of art range from pencil drawings to murals created
with paint and spray paint. Although his artwork hasn’t been
formally displayed, he does do artwork for friends and family
members such as a masterpiece-boxing mural he did on his friend’s
wall.

When he trains, Torres runs anywhere from 70 to 90 miles a week,
especially since he picked up a new event for the Broncos: the
3,000 steeplechase.

“It’s different, it’s very different,” said Torres. “It requires
a lot of fitness and mental toughness, a lot of that which I’m used
to already. But I’m not used to the jumps yet. Just with practice,
hopefully I can improve. That’s the event that I’m trying to go to
nationals in.”

With nationals just around the corner, Torres is focusing on
obtaining an All-American title as well as helping lead the Broncos
to victory.

“As far as team goals, I want to score as high as I can in the
conference meet in order for our team to pretty much win the whole
thing,” said Torres. “As an individual, I always have wanted to be
an All-American ” the top eight in the nation. I’ve been close
before, but I still haven’t gotten it.”

The hard work and mental toughness that running poses only seems
to enhance the performance of the 5-foot-10 athlete.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s a good day or a bad day,” said
Prentice. “He definitely brings his A-game. [There is] no doubt in
my mind he gives his best effort.”

His humility is admired by his teammates and has positively
impacted the program altogether.

“He definitely leads by example ” a very, very hard worker,”
said track and field head coach Troy Johnson. “[I] couldn’t ask for
a nicer guy, [and] a nicer human being. He’s there for his
teammates and just wants to see the program succeed.”

Torres motivates his teammates and is inspired by assistant
coach Tony Reyes, who “always motivates [him] and believes [he]
wins when the competition is tough.”

After his career at Cal Poly Pomona is finished, Torres hopes to
pursue a career in the probation field, working with juveniles and
possibly attend graduate school also.

“I’m really going to miss being involved in any sport, a
collegiate sport actually for that matter,” said Torres. “I know
after this, if I continue to run, it’s not going to be for school;
it’s not going to mean as much as it does here.”

He’s quiet, but greatly influential and humble, yet confident
and focused. When he runs, it’s not only about his well-being, but
also about the team’s well-being. It’s his drive to win that
jump-started Torres’ career, and it’s habit that keeps him
going.

“He’s running fast for us,” said Prentice. “I know if he’s
giving it his all, I’m going to give him my all.”

Torres a humble leader on the track

Ana Brenda Ibarra / The Poly Post

Torres a humble leader on the track

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