Senior Jennah Torres enters her final year at Metea Valley eager for the opportunity to make her mark on the athletic field. She tried out for the girls soccer team the past three springs, but just missed the cut for one of the top programs in the state. Undeterred, the Mustang decided to give another sport a try. She kept the cleats, but added shoulder pads and a helmet as Torres is suiting up for the Mustang football team this fall. This Feature Story is sponsored by Edward-Elmhurst Health.
“My dad played it in high, and so did my stepdad, and we watch it together so it’s like a bonding kind of thing, and my parents go to my games, so it’s an experience,” said Metea Valley football player Jennah Torres.
“I chose it to have a different experience because it’s a very different environment than the other sports I used to play. I used to play soccer so it’s a very different atmosphere than that field,” said Torres.
Despite few female players participating in football, Torres is excited to follow in the footsteps of her family while trying something new. She is not the first girl to join the huddle for one of our six area teams in recent years. In 2018, Tessa Kucharski strapped up for the Neuqua Valley football team during her junior season playing as a defensive back. Torres is following a similar path, learning the plays on the defensive side of the ball by playing down safety. It’s a tough position for even experienced players, but the Mustang is embracing the challenge with the support of her teammates and coaches week after week.
“It’s fun and hurts and very inviting because all the guys are really nice, and nobody talks bad, so it’s like a different experience,” said Torres.
Head coach John Parpet is excited to see Torres try out the sport and believes that this will be a better boost for her than just strapping up and making plays on the field.
“It’s ok to be uncomfortable, being uncomfortable is a part of life. The only way you get comfortable is by exposing yourself to new experiences, and I think that she has shown that you can overcome that position and get it in there and continue to put yourself out there,” said Parpet.
Getting a chance on the field
She mostly plays in the junior varsity games to this point, but having any playing time at all is an exciting opportunity on the gridiron.
“I got to play in a JV game, and it was fun, and it gets your adrenaline going and heart raising but a good adrenaline not like, I’m gonna die. It’s like yay, I get to play!” Torres explained.
Even though this will be her only season on the gridiron, she is proud of her effort on the field and has proven she belongs in the black and gold uniform alongside her teammates. The experience has been a positive for Torres and for the Metea Valley program this fall.
“Every day she is here it’s a positive experience. We get to joke around with her, when she gets knocked down, she gets back up and giggles, and I think other kids have seen that and it’s gotten them to have that same mentality of hey, sometimes you get knocked down, get back and get back to work,” said Parpet.
For more prep sports highlights, visit the Naperville Sports Weekly page!