In the classroom of San Luis Obispo High track and field coach Dave Gomes on Thursday afternoon, a drawing on his whiteboard depicted “the happiest day of Abrianna’s life.”
The illustration, a sketch of a national letter of intent signing ceremony planned for later in the day, centered on “A.B.,” Abrianna Torres, shown surrounded by several family members and friends, also named.
The actual scene unfolded just like that, with Torres, the versatile senior who specializes in the jumps and hurdles events for the Tigers, commemorating accepting a partial scholarship from Colorado.
“It feels really, really good,” Torres said. “I don’t have to worry about making college decisions for the rest of the year. I can just focus on school and track, and that’s it, so it’s really nice.”
Cal and Nevada were also among her finalists. With the Buffaloes, Torres will compete in the heptathlon, she said.
She said the coaching staff and team combined to make the situation a perfect fit.
“It was pretty much everything,” Torres said.
“I guess the weather kind of scares me,” she said with a laugh, “but there’s not one thing that would make me not want to go.”
This past June, Torres finished fourth in the long jump at the CIF State Track and Field Championships held in Clovis, with a mark of 19 feet, 4 inches.
Torres’ personal records are 19-6¼ in the long jump, 38-8¾ in the triple jump and 5-4 in the high jump. On the track, her standards are 14.4 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles and 44.2 seconds in the 300-meter hurdles. At the PAC 7 championships this past May, Torres won four events, and in the process set meet records in three of them.
It would be an understatement to say that Torres comes from an athletic family.
In 1985, Torres’ mother, Zona (then known as CeCe Chandler), clocked a 13.47-second time in the 100 hurdles while at Cal Poly, a school record that stood for 21 years.
Meanwhile, her father, Victor, also competed at Cal Poly in the mid-1980s, and in 1984 put forth a mark of 51-4 in the triple jump, the fourth-best in Mustangs history until 2002.
Despite their accomplished backgrounds, though, both parents said they let their kids choose what they wanted to do, rather than urge them to pursue track and field like they did.
“I kind of stayed back and let her do what she wanted,” Zona said, “because I always said I didn’t want my kids to do something just because I did.”
Added Victor: “Everybody picked their own path, and we’re proud of all of them.”
Indeed, Abrianna also starred in basketball for San Luis Obispo before deciding to focus solely on track, winning the PAC 7’s Defensive Player of the Year award as a sophomore, when she also led the Tigers in scoring. Ironically, though, in time, she veered in the direction of her parents.
“She just pursues things that she really wants,” Victor said, “and as for this, it’s something that she really wanted to do. We’re really proud that she’s achieved this level that she has gotten to.”
The regular signing period for track and field actually began Feb. 2, but Torres wanted to wait until her mom was able to be there for the occasion.
In late January, Zona had brain surgery, and due to complications was in rehabilitation for longer than originally anticipated. In order to help offset the family’s unexpected medical costs, Spencer’s Fresh Markets in San Luis Obispo will host a barbecue benefit from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
It was well worth the wait for Abrianna. Just like the picture on Gomes’ whiteboard predicted, Zona was there with others who helped her along the way.
“We’re really proud of her,” Zona said, “because she worked really hard academically-wise and sports-wise, and she got the college that she really wanted.”