Jon Torres accepts his medal for his top 10 finish at the Meet of Champions. Photo by John Blaine.
By Rich Fisher
Nov. 19: In just his second season of running in cross country – and his first time ever running in state meets – Jon Torres proved himself to be one of the top runners in the state.
The Nottingham High senior cruised to a ninth-place finish at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions on Saturday at Holmdel Park. Running against a field of 190, Torres ran an impressive 16:07 to earn a Top 10 medal. Torres was just one second behind 8th-place Sameer Das of West Windsor-Plainsboro South.
Jon did not start running cross country until last year and ended up missing the sectional meet due to a stress fracture. He came back stronger than ever this year, finishing second in the Central Jersey Group III meet before tying for 10th in the Groups meet and earning a wild card invitation.
“It was really great,” coach Dave Tees said. “I think it’s kind of a proper ending for him because the kid’s so determined. The week before it was about 37 degrees, he didn’t have a good race, he wasn’t really happy with it (running a 16:30).
“What a difference 10 degrees makes. He goes out, not wearing tights underneath, just with his jersey on, nothing underneath that. It was a big difference. Last week it was like ‘You made it here, you made it through and that’s great.’ But to see that kind of race coming at the next level was really great to see.”
Tees said the biggest difference in the actual race this week was that coming up the hill out of Holmdel’s infamous “bowl”, Jon was able to stay with the lead pack this week. Last week, he lost touch with the lead pack during that portion of the race.
“He felt pretty good,” Tees said. “He just had kind of an air about him that he was determined. He took it out really fast and just attacked the whole way and stayed up with that lead group.”
Torres will take some time off and then come back for winter track after Thanksgiving.