Madras wrestling exploding in growth

ONTARIO – As the 4A Special District 4 tournament took place this past weekend in Ontario, one thing was quite noticeable. The While Buffaloes wrestling team of Madras was taking up quite a bit more space in the stands than in years past.

“We had eight wrestlers last year,” said senior Orlando Torres. “This year, we started the season with 43 on the team and brought 26 to the district meet.”

Torres is one of the few who wrestled both last year and this year. A two-time state finalist, Torres battled through injuries last year to return this year and again qualify for the upcoming state tournament wrestling in the 152-pound division. Although excited about the new energy brought to the White Buffaloes, the new wrestling growth in Madras has created one problem for Torres.

“Last year, I practiced on the mats with my brother who was a senior and we could go all over,” Torres explained. “This year, there was barely room to move. I hit my head on other guys a couple times!”

A good problem to have for the Madras wrestling team.

Torres has been one of the few Madras wrestlers on the mat since the sixth grade. Now facing his final year of high school competition, he is unsure of pursuing the sport in college.

“I have thought about wrestling at Southern Oregon, but I have some other options that do not involve wrestling,” said Torres. “I just don’t know right now.”

Even with the problem of too many on the mat, Torres is excited about the new, younger teammates.

“Coach Brad (Padgett) has brought a whole new attitude and enthusiasm to Madras wrestling,” Torres said. “He has brought a will to win and the younger ones on the team have really grown this year. It is exciting to watch what this team has accomplished.”

Torres, after finishing second at the district tournament, will again be making the trip to the state tournament and expressed one goal.

“I want a state title this year,” he said. “I had a good year and a good record. Some of the losses were due to I had to leave a tournament for a family emergency and had to forfeit some matches.”

Although Torres will not be around the mats next season, he is sure the future looks bright for the White Buffaloes.

“With the people on the team this year and Coach Brad, Madras will be bringing larger teams to the district tournament every year,” he said.