Local Sports

AP siblings taking game to next level

— Former Avon Park standout Brad Torres will be continuing his college career. His younger sister, Marina, will be starting hers, as both have signed with colleges and will continue the sports they love.

“I’m very proud of them,” said mom Amy Torres. “It’s great to see their hard work pay off.”

Brad has spent the last two years at St. Johns River State, where he helped the Vikings win back-to-back Mid-Florida Conference titles. The Vikings set a school record with 38 victories in his freshman season and followed that up with another solid season.

“It was awesome,” Brad said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better team. Both years were a good experience.”

Brad had looked at Webber and Southeastern University before deciding on Warner University.

“Their coach was the one who really stood out to me,” Brad said on why he chose Warner.

Brad, who made the All-Highlands Today baseball team for three seasons said he really hasn’t changed anything since his days with the Red Devils.

“I’m pretty much the same,” he said. “I don’t throw the curveball anymore and am a three-pitcher pitcher; fastball, slider and change-up.”

He said that the hitters at the college level are much more patient than high school batters, who tend to swing at anything close to the plate.

“They wait for you to throw their pitch,” he said.

When it was time for Marina to select a college to play volleyball, she decided to head to the same place Brad had just left, St. Johns River State.

“I may have had an academic influence,” Brad said. “I told her it was a good school, but I don’t really know about the volleyball program.”

Marina made the All-Highlands Today volleyball team in her junior and senior seasons and was a three-year varsity player for the Red Devils, helping Avon Park reach the Class 4A-Region 3 quarterfinals this season. The Red Devils also qualified for the Class 4A state playoffs last season.

Marina was a powerful hitter,” said Avon Park volleyball coach Shane Wirries when he nominated her for the All-Highlands team this year. “She really came on as the season progressed and when she was on we were hard to beat.”

Amy said there was never any sibling rivalry between the two despite the fact that both are extremely competitive individuals.

“They’ve been very supportive of each other,” she said. “They‘re both equal in their individual sports.”

Like most moms, Amy feels a few jitters while watching her kids play, but would never think of letting that get in the way of watching them whenever possible.

“I think I’m more nervous than they are,” she said.

While she’s happy about the chance to get to see Brad play more after the past two years while he was away, she said it will be tough not being able to see Marina play as often.

“It’s a little bittersweet,” she said. “I’m excited to go to more of Brad’s games, but I’ll miss seeing Marina as often.”