Down 0-3 with 30 seconds remaining at the Junior National Duals on Saturday, Keilan Torres didn't panic, he just found a way to win.
“He's a closer,” said Nick Williams, Torres' coach at Altus High School. “He's fearless. He's capable of doing anything.”
Torres, competing for Oklahoma Red, came back to win in a decision over Minnesota Black's Garrett Hoffner.
Torres, a two-time state champion who will be a senior this fall, is no stranger to comebacks. He's actually made a habit of being a closer. In his freshman year, he overcame a 10-2 deficit in the third period to come back for a 15-12 win. Last year at Iowa Nationals, he overcame a 4-1 deficit to win 8-6.
“I don't always like to be behind, but I start off slow and pick it up when I have to,” Torres said.
The “clutch gene” is perhaps the most coveted gift any athlete can possess, and Torres is proving that he has it. The ice in Torres' veins comes from his incredibly cool and calm state of mind.
“I don't let my anger or anything get to me,” Torres said. “I'm really patient. I just stay calm and have fun. Losing control is the worst thing you can do because whenever you lose control you make it that much easier for somebody to take you over. You don't know what you're doing. I stay focused and calm and just wrestle.”
Torres also gives a lot of credit to his friends and family who support him. His father, Mike Torres, began coaching him when he was five and comes to all of his competitions. His mother, Donna Bonalewicz, and Altus mat maid sponsor Roberta Bradley-Lee, cheer him on with undeniable enthusiasm. Their spirit when he competes essentially gives him a home-court advantage every time he's on the mat.