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Gazette Boys Indoor Track Player of the Year: Taj-Amir Torres of Amherst Regional

  • Taj-Amir Torres, of Amherst Regional, has been named the Daily Hampshire Gazette Boys Indoor Track Player of the Year.

    Taj-Amir Torres, of Amherst Regional, has been named the Daily Hampshire Gazette Boys Indoor Track Player of the Year. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Taj-Amir Torres, of Amherst Regional, has been named the Daily Hampshire Gazette Boys Indoor Track Player of the Year.

    Taj-Amir Torres, of Amherst Regional, has been named the Daily Hampshire Gazette Boys Indoor Track Player of the Year. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Taj-Amir Torres, of Amherst Regional, has been named the Daily Hampshire Gazette Boys Indoor Track Player of the Year.
  • Taj-Amir Torres, of Amherst Regional, has been named the Daily Hampshire Gazette Boys Indoor Track Player of the Year.

What a difference a year makes.

At this time last year, Amherst Regional sophomore Taj-Amir Torres didn’t really care all that much about track. In fact, the only reason he even participated in the sport was because he wanted to improve his speed and conditioning for football.

Fast forward a year later and Torres is one of the best sprinters in the state. After his seller indoor season, Torres has been named the Daily Hampshire Gazette Boys Indoor Track Player of the Year.

Torres capped his 2012-13 indoor season in style with an eighth-place finish in the 60-meter dash in the emerging elite division at New Balance Indoor Nationals in New York. It was the final race of a long postseason that started with a new PVIAC record (6.49 seconds) and a western Massachusetts 55-meter dash championship.

A week later he won the 55 dash in 6.48 seconds at the state Division 2 championship. Torres missed the state record by 0.03 seconds.

So what changed between 2012 and 2013?

“It started all in school really,” Torres said. “I didn’t have good grades last year but this year my grades picked up drastically. Then all of a sudden, colleges started sending me letters and I began to realize that this could give me a gateway to do so many other things, such as getting a college education. That is why I began to take track a lot more seriously.”

Once Torres dedicated himself to the sport, the results of his hard work turned into accomplishments that surpassed his expectations.

“I was honestly surprised by how well I did this year,” Torres said. “I never thought I would be as good as I was this year. I figured I would win a few races, but I never thought I’d be state champion and break a few records. I wasn’t expecting that at all.”

Torres’ indoor success has carried over into the outdoor season and school’s have noticed.

“Just knowing that people are aware of who I am at the college level just makes me want to work harder,” he said. “I want to be the best track athlete in the nation. Hopefully I can achieve it by my senior year.”

FIRST TEAM

Gary Burnett, senior, Amherst Regional

Connor Evans, sophomore, Amherst Regional

Gabe Fishman, senior, Amherst Regional

Aidan Gilson, sophomore, Northampton

Trevor Lewicki, senior, Holyoke Catholic

Robert Sailer, junior, Amherst Regional

Michael Stender, senior, Amherst Regional

Ryan Stender, junior, Amherst Regional

Taj-Amir Torres, sophomore, Amherst Regional

Allen Vance, sophomore, Amherst Regional

SECOND TEAM

Devin Clarke, senior, Amherst Regional

Avery Nortonsmith, sophomore, Northampton

Dylan Owens, senior, Amherst Regional

Kieran Presley, senior, Amherst Regional

Liam Sullivan, freshman, Northampton

Jericho Sylla, sophomore, Amherst Regional

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