Crystal Torres is ready to fight

The senior is the only girl on Colton High’s varsity team and is looking for a trip to the CIF playoffs


J. Dollins

Crystal Torres is a tough competitor who is always ready to take to the mat.

Crystal Torres is a unicorn.

For the last three years, Crystal has been a vital part of the Colton High School wrestling team. However, in a sport dominated by boys, she is the only girl.

She wishes that weren’t the case, of course. “I wish that there were more girls, so that way they can see what the sport is and not be afraid of it.”

Crystal Torres has her game face on in her match at Carter High on January 24 (J. Dollins)

Her own journey as a wrestler began in her sophomore year when her friend, and teammate Jacob Zuniga, told her that the wrestling team was trying to recruit girls. He told her there weren’t enough girls, and Crystal became interested in trying it out.

She made the 2019-2020 team as part of a five girl crew.

“At first it was really challenging because there were a lot of physical needs,” said Crystal. “I enjoyed working out that way, and it was helping me with my physical aspects.”

She got her first victory on the mat at her first tournament appearance in Apple Valley. She recalls that she didn’t win on the first day, but on the second day she won her first match and went on to place 7th in the tournament.

That year four of the varsity girls, herself included, qualified for CIF playoffs, an indicator to Crystal that this was the right fit for her.

The 2020-2021 school year was lost to COVID, and wrestlers had to find matches through gyms, club teams, and other venues. Crystal worked out at a local martial arts gym during the pandemic, but none of the other girls returned to the team once school resumed, leaving her wrestling solo.

Sometimes I get a little overwhelmed because of . . . life. I get to take it out on the mat.

— Crystal Torres

Being the only girl on the team has not been without its challenges. The biggest challenge is finding matches. If the opposing team she faces does not have a girl in her weight class, she has to sit the meet out. This was a problem when Colton wrestled Rialto and Eisenhower earlier this season.

Then there’s the awkwardness of wrestling against boys in practice. “At first they didn’t want to wrestle with me,” Crystal shared about many of her teammates, most of whom are first year wrestlers. “Coach was like, ‘They don’t want to get beat up by you.’ Now though they are wrestling with me.”

With this, her senior season winding down, her goal is to make it back to CIF and become league girls’ varsity champion.

Because of goals like these, wrestling is more than just a sport. “Although wrestling is a physical sport, it requires a lot of mental preparation,” she said. She believes the mental preparation will help her out in the long run. The sport also provides her was the opportunity to unleash her frustrations and deal with life’s struggles in a productive way.

“Sometimes I get a little overwhelmed because of . . . life. I get to take it out on the mat.”

After she graduates, Crystal is looking forward to training in jiu-jitsu and martial arts for MMA fighting. She enjoys watching the sport, especially female standouts like Holly Holm, the MMA champion. She is also hoping to attend UCLA and is considering wrestling there.

She knows she has a long road ahead of her, but she’s ready.