SLO High grad Torres opens 21st at NCAA track meet in heptathlon

Colorado's Abrianna Torres is competing in her first NCAA track and field championships.
Colorado's Abrianna Torres is competing in her first NCAA track and field championships.

EUGENE, Ore. — Colorado track and field assistant coach Lindsey Malone was thrilled as she watched Abrianna Torres run in the 100-meter hurdles.

Torres, a graduate from San Luis Obispo High school, and current junior at Colorado, was speeding through the hurdles — faster than she ever had before.

“She was in front of people she’s never beat before,” Malone said. “It was awe- inspiring. And then she had a hiccup.”

The faster Torres moved, the closer the hurdles came. On the eighth hurdle, Torres caught her trail leg on the hurdle and faltered to the finish line. She finished with a time of 14.63 seconds— placing her last out of 24 athletes in the heptathlon with six more events to go.

Malone went up to Torres after the race, hugged her and told her she was amazing.

“Too bad you had to kiss the eighth hurdle,” Malone told Torres. “Maybe a little less love for that hurdle next time.”

Having her best 100-meter hurdle race slowed by a trip on the eighth hurdle didn’t affect Torres’ mindset.

“I couldn’t get caught up, especially on the first event — I have six more,” Torres said. “That was a great race. It didn’t end well, but I couldn’t get down.”

Torres bounced back by recording a personal best in the high jump (5 feet, 7¾ inches) and placing fourth in the shot put (44-6¼). She ended her day by finishing last in the 200-meter dash (26.17), placing her in 21st place overall heading into Thursday.

Currently, at 3,317 points heading into the last three events, Malone said Torres is 101 points above her personal best score.

Relaxed after the first day, Torres wasn’t paying much attention to her personal best pace. But her coach was.

“She’s downplaying it, but it’s thrilling,” Malone said.

Torres will compete tomorrow in the long jump, the javelin throw and the 800-meter race to end her first trip to the national championships.

“My goal is just to have fun,” Torres said. “There are 24 heptathletes in the nation that get to compete in this meet and I’m one of them.”