Article Source Written By: KEVIN MCGAVIN – NAPERVILLE SUN |JAN 07, 2020 | 2:28 PM

Waubonsie Valley's Antonio Torres, left, talks with coach Brad Caldwell during a timeout at the DuPage Valley Conference meet in Aurora on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019.
Waubonsie Valley’s Antonio Torres, left, talks with coach Brad Caldwell during a timeout at the DuPage Valley Conference meet in Aurora on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019. (H. Rick Bamman / Naperville Sun)

Antonio Torres is not about to get ahead of himself as the wrestling season progresses in January.

“I am just going to take it one step at a time: regional, sectional and then state,” Torres said.

But the Waubonsie Valley sophomore has lived up to his high expectations so far.

Torres was a DuPage Valley Conference champion as a freshman, though he fell short of reaching the Class 3A state meet at the tough Bolingbrook Sectional in February.

“Antonio is a special case,” Waubonsie Valley coach Brad Caldwell said. “He came in with a lot of accolades from the kids club and that type of thing. I would love to have 15 of him. If we had 15 of him, we would be unstoppable.”

But Torres’ ambitions are only increasing as the season comes to its tipping point.

Torres is ranked third at 170 pounds in the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association’s poll.

“It does put a little bit of extra pressure on me,” Torres said. “You have a target on your head, especially when you’re so young.”

Waubonsie Valley's Antonio Torres, top, works to control Naperville North's Kyle Plank at 152 pounds during the DuPage Valley Conference meet in Aurora on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019.
Waubonsie Valley’s Antonio Torres, top, works to control Naperville North’s Kyle Plank at 152 pounds during the DuPage Valley Conference meet in Aurora on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019. (H. Rick Bamman / Naperville Sun)

Torres’ only losses this season have come during intense competitions during invitationals at Barrington, Rockford East and Wheaton Warrenville South.

The loss at Wheaton Warrenville South came when he could not answer the bell in the championship match against Evanston’s Ricardo Salinas due to an injury.

Caldwell marvels about Torres’ physical prowess.

“I jokingly call him a freak,” Caldwell said. “He is kind of like a cat. You can throw him up in any position, and he will land on his feet. He’s got great hips. He’s got great quickness, great body awareness.”

Torres tries not to be too critical.

“So far, I think I am doing well,” Torres said. “There are always things you can improve on. If you work hard in the practice room, it transfers over to the mat.”

“I need to be better on my top,” he added. “That’s what I am going to be focusing on until the regional.”

Champion also prepares for regional: Naperville North coach Tom Champion would be the first to admit his team is far from a finished product.

“We are still a team that has only two seniors on any given night,” Champion said Saturday afternoon at the Margaret Flott Invitational at Kaneland. ”We can use January to improve and perfect. We will use 2020 to start peaking for the regional in four weeks.”

The Huskies are led by seniors Evan Demari and Cosmo Champion at 113 pounds and 132 pounds, respectively.

Dane Tsao bears watching at 195 pounds.

“He’s our best chance to get out of the sectional,” Tom Champion said of Tsao.

Millington has surprises in store: Waubonsie Valley senior Charlie Millington had a peculiar reply when asked Monday how many times he has wrestled at heavyweight this season.

“None — not one match,” Millington said.

The Warriors’ only returning state qualifier as a heavyweight, Millington has been wrestling at 220 pounds.

“(220) is pretty challenging, so I think that has prepared me for the next step,” he said.

But Millington more than likely will return to 285 pounds for the state series.

“He is pretty athletic and quick for a big guy,” Caldwell said.

Kevin McGavin is a freelance reporter for the Naperville Sun.