Junior Nathanael Torrence has worked hard to earn his 37-2 record this season.
"I can honestly say that I probably worked harder than anybody in the state," the wrestler said before going to last weekend's 3A state championships.
Although it sounds cocky, Torrence may not be exaggerating.
After losing two of his three matches at states last year as a 130-pounder and finishing 34-13 for the season, Torrence made a decision to go to an intensive wrestling camp during the summer. He said the experience was life-changing.
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"It made me not only improve as a wrestler but as a person," he said.
The 28-day camp is put on by three-time NCAA championship-winning coach J. Robinson at the University of Minnesota At the camp, wrestlers have to get up at 6 a.m. each day and participate in four daily workouts, while wrestling alongside some of the country's best collegiate wrestlers.
"It was the toughest thing I've ever done," said Torrence. "Finishing it was the biggest accomplishment I've ever had."
The work ethic he learned at camp came back to Concord with him. Torrence is not satisfied with simply working out during practice. He said he wakes up at 5 a.m. to run and work out before school and also triesto work out or run again before calling it a day.
Torrence added that all of that is done while not eating as much as he'd like to make sure he doesn't exceed his 140-pound weight class.
Concord's wrestling coach, Michael Carty, said that in addition to being self-motivated, Torrence is in constant search of ways to better himself as a wrestler.
"He takes what he sees as successful for other people and includes it in his routine," said Carty. "He's like a sponge."
Carty has noticed Torrence's increased intensity, although he said he's always been a hard worker and spent his days in the weight room and on the mats even before heading to Minnesota.
That's one of the reasons Carty named Torrence and Taylor McClain, who also attended the same intensive wrestling camp, as team captains.
"They both display great leadership by example as well as on the mat," he said, adding that Torrence is the type of wrestler who sets the tone for the rest of his team.
Torrence, who started wrestling for the fun of it as an eighth-grader at Concord Middle, said he likes to push his teammates to their limit so they can improve.
"If someone cries or gets hurt, I'm ready for them to get back up on the mat," the 17-year-old said. "That's how I was taught at camp - if you bled or threw up, you'd clean it up and you'd be ready to go again."
Torrence was ranked first in the region and fifth in the state at the 140-pound weight class going into states. He said it was an honor to be thought of so highly.
"It takes a lot of hard work, and I guess all my hard work is showing off," he said.
Torrence hasn't made up his mind about whether he's going back to intensive wrestling camp, or if he'll attend a 14-day circuit camp also in Minnesota this summer, but he's leaning toward the latter.
"I might go to one of those so I'm not away from home as much, and I might try to get more AAU matches in," he said.
One thing Torrence is certain of is that he wants to try to take his skills to the college level.
Carty said that he'll need to attract more coaches' attention, but that he's sure Torrence would be successful at the next level, even if he has to walk-on to a team.
"I think he's got the raw talent - even right now - that a college program would love to have him," he said. "He's got all the physical tools, but also the self-determination and the mindset to be a good college wrestler."