By Richard Mejia
The 2014 Fall semester has been full of successful seasons and a few conference championships. Among all the team sports, sophomore runner Omar Torres has definitely been the most successful athlete at LBCC this year.
Coming from Cerritos College, Torres has been breaking and setting individual records for LBCC in cross country. Most notably was Torres’ first place in the Brubaker Invitational in October, when 147 runners from across Southern California participated.
“My body is the strongest it’s ever been.” said Torres. “For the first time ever, I haven’t had any injuries throughout the year, so I’ve been able to stay both mentally and physically strong.”
Torres’ first place finish was the first in LBCC history since 2000. In addition to this feat, Torres has also managed to place in top-8 within his final five 4-mile races as well as garner second team All-South Coast Conference honors.
Torres’ performances this season have been nothing short of impressive, especially considering he has had suffered the most challenging year of his life. Early this year, Torres’ experienced a major loss as his grandmother died.
“It was really hard to deal with. I’ve never dealt with that as an adult, but it really did take a mental on me in the beginning of the season.”
A week prior to the cross country opening meet, Torres’ aunt unexpectedly died. Contemplating whether to run in the opener, Torres’ attended his aunt’s funeral and competed the following day.
“It was really difficult to do run. I don’t attribute my poor performance to it all, but I wasn’t in the best state of mind.”
To honor the legacy of his grandmother and aunt, Torres wears a black sleeve on his left arm, as well as a black ribbon on the left side of his jersey during all his races. Torres explains his reasoning for the tribute as he indicates the ribbon being over his heart and his sleeve is worn on the arm closest to his heart.
On Saturday, Nov. 22, Torres ran in the California Community College Athletic Association state championship meet in Fresno. Of the 213 participants, Torres finished in 11th place while clocking a time of 20:34.4 in the 4-mile run.
“My goal was to finish with the state record, which is somewhere in the 19-minute mark.”
Following one of the most successful individual seasons in LBCC cross country history, Torres now his mind set on running in track and field for the Spring Semester.
He hopes to set new LBCC records in the 10K race, all the while, preparing to transfer and compete in Division 1.
“I’ve matured since high school and I know I’ll succeed.”