Alumni Spotlight Archive
Jose "Shorty" Torres
Jose Torres wrestled with his education to come out a winner
Jose “Shorty” Torres had low grades throughout his high school career and didn’t consider himself to be a great wrestler but loved the sport. With no scholarship prospects and financial issues, attending a four-year university wasn’t an option for the Cicero native, but he did envision himself in college. Upon discovering Triton College, he would also discover a second chance at life.
While pursuing an associate’s degree at Triton, Torres joined the wrestling team, where he found success – winning national titles, placing fourth in the nation with the most wins in a season, receiving All-American honors and awards for MVP and men’s athlete of the year at Triton – and developed a support system of teammates, friends and coaches.
“I sometimes wanted to quit wrestling because my family didn’t support me,” he said. “But because of the guidance and support of my coach Harry McGinnis, I continued to wrestle and succeeded. He never quit on me. He was the reason for my success in wrestling and even the books.”
Torres also thrived in the classroom, graduating from Triton with a 3.5 GPA and listed numerous times on the Dean’s List. His success led to receiving an athletic and academic scholarship to McKendree University in Lebanon, Ill., to pursue his bachelor’s degree – a task he is very proud of, maybe even more so than his wrestling feats. Today, he also runs his own mixed martial arts gym.
“If you can push yourself through all the hard work, pain and agony to achieve what you want to achieve, then the outcome is your pride and success,” Torres said.
What have been some obstacles you've had to overcome in pursuit of your educational and career goals? I had to overcome the school work and other competitors in the nation. What I did was impossible in my mind, but I made it possible. Wrestling Coach Harry McGinnis helped me a lot and without his motivation in the books and in wrestling, I would probably be in the military or working at McDonald's. It was great having him to push me.
What have been some sources of inspiration both in your career and in your life? Again, Harry McGinnis pushed me and took care of me. He watched me and led me in the right path like a good coach and father should. He is a great friend and role model. My family also helped in my success.
What would you describe as your strong suit? When I put my mind to it, I know I can do anything no matter what it pertains to!
How has Triton College impacted your life? Triton has led me and shown me the path to success. Without Triton, I would've gone to another junior college and ended up hating school and not doing well. Wrestling saved me, and wrestling at Triton has made me the man I am today. And with that, I wouldn't be as good as I am in anything I do.
What are your words of wisdom for current Triton students? It's easy to become anything you want to be; it's just hard to get yourself up to do it! Once you do what you need to do, the goal will get closer and closer. Times will get tough but pain is temporary, pride is forever.
What are your plans for the future? I plan to be a teacher and hopefully work at Triton as a coach and teacher. Also, I do mixed martial arts (MMA) and am very good at it. Currently, I am 11-1, have three MMA Championship belts, two title defenses, and two Muay Thai belts. I’ve traveled to Brazil for the Pan-American Kickboxing games and won two gold medals. I travel the world to fight and am always looking for donations to help fund my trips and expenses. I hope to have a career in MMA and pursue the Ultimate Fighting Championship, but I’ll always have my education to fall back on. Hopefully, it all works out.
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