JAMESTOWN – On the heels of a record-breaking season, All-American Dan Torres of the Jamestown Community College wrestling team has signed his National Letter of Intent to continue wrestling at NCAA Division I University at Buffalo.
Torres, a Cassadaga native, was a dream of his since he was a kid, but never thought he would be going Division I, for even at Jamestown Community College for that matter.
“Honestly, after high school I wasn’t even going to wrestle,” said Torres. “I was just going to go to JCC and then try to get right into the police academy. But after the state tournament my senior year I just felt like I wasn’t done yet, like I could do more.”
With Torres finishing a stellar high school wrestling career, head coach Kris Schimek wanted to keep the local talent local, and got Torres to hit the mats at JCC.
“(Coach) Schimek messaged me soon after the state tournament and I decided to wrestle for JCC,” continued Torres. “The coaches have created a program where if you’re willing to work hard, you will get better. I’m grateful for the opportunities wrestling in the NJCAA has given me.”
During his freshman season as a Jayhawk, Torres saw his progress as the season went on. Going into the NJCAA Eastern District I Championships, Torres was snubbed on a No. 1 seed and instead, he was the No. 3 seed. That lit a fire under him, going on to win the 174-pound title and was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestlers.
With the berth into the 2019 NJCAA Wrestling Championships, it did not go as Torres had planned. Torres’ trip came to an end quicker than he had expected, losing his two matches.
Looking to redeem himself during his sophomore season, Torres did just that.
Torres was dismantling the competition coming his way during the 2019-20, compiling a record 42-7, a new JCC record for most wins in a season and was soon ranked the No.1 wrestler in his weight class.
During the regular season, Torres placed in multiple invitationals and opens, but it wasn’t until the JCC Open that Torres realized that wrestling Division I wasn’t too far out of reach.
“I think I realized that I could wrestle at the DI level after the JCC Open,” said Torres. “I’ve always believed I could but when I wrestled a DI kid in the finals, that’s when it really set in.”
Torres defeated Derek Brown of Clarion University in the first place match, coming away with a 9-0 major decision victory.
Carrying that momentum for the rest of the season, Torres finished second at the 2020 NJCAA Wrestling Championships, defeating multiple nationally ranked opponents on the way.
Finishing second at the national tournament and becoming an All-American, Torres had to start weighing his options as to what he wanted to do once he graduated from JCC. After some time to reflect on the past season and talking with his family, he knew he wanted to make the jump.
“After talking with my family and my coaches about everything, I decided it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up and it’s always been a dream to wrestle DI,” said Torres. “I’ve also gotten better every year in college and I haven’t peaked yet so I still have time to improve.”
One of the first schools that reach out to Torres was the University at Buffalo. After looking into the program, he knew it will be the right fit for him.
“I know I’ll be able to work on improving my weaknesses while still building on my strengths,” said Torres. “That was important in my making my decision. Also, UB is close to home and my family will be able to be at some more of my matches.”
Torres will join at UB wrestling team that finished 9-11 on the year with a 3-7 Mid-America Conference record. Torres will look to crack the starting lineup but with his experience, he believe he’ll get there.
“I think JCC helped me prepare a lot,” said Torres on being able to compete at the next level. “Wrestling at the collegiate level is a whole new world from workout to competitions. JCC allowed me to grow and get used to a new way of wrestling.”
Coach Schimek saw Torres progress throughout his two-years at JCC and believe he can compete at UB.
“Dan has continued to get better from the day he stepped foot on the mat at JCC and will continue after he leaves here,” said coach Schimek. “He has created a legacy and had a historical season. He works as hard as the best and deserves a shot to go compete with them, UB will give him that opportunity.”
Torres did acknowledged that he could not have done this without the support he has gotten from the community, family, coaches and his friends. “I couldn’t have accomplished the things I have without their support.”