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Student-Athlete of the Week: Daniel Torres

 
Series: Student-Athlete of the Week | Story 23

February 5, 2020

Jocelyn Rowley

Daniel Torres has emerged as one of Niwot's top wrestlers over the past two seasons.

Daniel Torres didn't know much about wrestling when he reluctantly joined Niwot's team as a freshman, which makes his success in the years since all the more impressive. Thanks to quick wits and a penchant for hard work, the soft-spoken Torres has become one of the region's top wrestlers in the years since, and now he's on the cusp of a repeat bid to the Class 4A state championships at the Pepsi Center. As his high school career comes to a close, the senior is grateful to that once-shy ninth grader for taking a chance on a sport he wasn't even sure he liked.

"My friend really wanted me to try it, so I gave it a shot, and I ended up loving it," he said. "Wrestling takes a lot out of you, but it gives a lot back."

For Torres, that has come both in the form of individual success on the mat and personal growth off it. In the past two seasons, he has amassed 37 match wins, including a surprise 4th-place finish at the 2019 regional meet to qualify for state. In his senior season, he has been a repeat medalist for Niwot in the 220-lb class, and is now semi-patiently waiting out an elbow injury ahead of the 2020 regional meet. But that's only been a small part of his wrestling journey, according to Torres.

"Wrestling helped me come out of my shell," he said. "I was a really shy person-I kind of still am-but through wrestling, I am more outgoing and willing to try out new things. I've also learned more about myself and how to get along with others. How to stand up for myself. It gave me a sense of self-worth and identity at school."

It has also strengthened his conviction that anything worth doing is worth doing to the best of your ability, a mentality shaped by his parents' roots in Mexico.

"They always told me stories about how my aunts and uncles had to do backbreaking labor in the fields," Torres said. "They've always wanted me to be more than that. They want me to excel; to have a dream and be able to achieve it... It's the American Dream-if you work hard enough for it, you'll be able to achieve it. That's what I'm trying to do."

Torres has taken that drive into the classroom, where it has made him one of Niwot's top academic achievers. He is a student in the school's demanding IB diploma programme, and also dabbles in AP courses. After school, he is a member of the St. Vrain Innovation Center's Aquatic Robotics Team (ICART), which is currently building a submersible vehicle that will be used to monitor water quality and fish habitats for the City of Longmont.

"I always enjoy challenging myself, and the IB program is always pushing me to do more-to explore the world, to take on new challenges," he said.

Torres is looking forward to taking on new challenges after graduation. He plans to attend CU-Boulder or the Colorado School of Mines to pursue a degree in biomechanical engineering, a field he discovered after a scary incident in middle school.

"Engineering saved my grandma's life, and it's been something that's fascinated me," he said. "She had a heart attack six or seven years ago... At the hospital, I saw all of this technology and modern stuff that was going to help her out, but the thing that helped her the most was a pacemaker. I did research into that, and saw how the biomedical engineering field helps people like my grandma who suffer from heart attacks and whose hearts aren't as strong anymore."

Meanwhile, Torres is enjoying his final weeks with the Cougar wrestling program, and the "unbreakable bonds" he's made along the way.

"Wrestling is an individual sport, but it also has a lot of team components -any achievements you get are more you, but also your teammates that help you, build you up, hype you up. They're the backbone of the whole wrestling experience. They're the ones that make me enjoy it and want to keep going."

 

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