Phil Torrens enters his 41st season as a member of the men's cross country coaching staff and his 27th season with the women's cross country team. Torren's women's teams have won six North Coast Athletic Conference championships (1998-2000, 2003, 2004, 2005) and his men's team captured a conference title in 1998.
The 2012 season saw senior Dee Salukombo captured his first-ever NCAC crown, while classmate Alexander Chappars finished 10th to help DU finish sixth at the NCAC Championship meet in Springfield, Ohio. At the NCAA Regional, Salukombo and Chappars repeated as all-region honorees with second and 22nd-place finishes, respectively. Salukombo advanced to the national meet at Wisconsin-Oshkosh where he posted a career-best eighth-place finish en route to his third consecutive All-American award.
In 2011, the Big Red men posted a fourth-place finish at the NCAC Championship in Crawfordsville, Ind. and were paced by Dee Salukombo's third-place finish and Alex Chappars who crossed the finish line in 11th place. The DU men went on to finish 10th at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional and Salukombo advanced to the national championship race where he finished in 29th place to earn his second-straight All-American certificate.
In 2010, Salukombo and junior Katie Navarre both became All-Americans after outstanding performances at the NCAA Division III Championship. Salukombo placed second at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional and placed 33rd at the national championship meet. Navarre won the Great Lakes Regional championship and logged a sixth-place finish at the D-III Championship.
In 2005 the women's team won not only the NCAC Championships but also the NCAA Great Lakes Regional. The squad eventually went on to finish 24th in the NCAA Division III Championships. The men's team placed second at the NCAC Championships and a very respectable 10th place in the Great Lakes Regional meet.
In 2004, Torrens' women's cross-country team made school history, claiming not only their second consecutive NCAC championship but winning the NCAA regional meet for the first time in school history. With the team win at Regionals, the women went on to make their first appearance at the NCAA national meet, placing eighth in the country.
In 2008, senior Grant Russo and freshman Dee Salukombo consistently paced the Denison men's cross country team. Russo earned NCAC Male Runner of the Year honors after winning the NCAC Men's Cross Country Championships, while Salukombo took third in the event. Russo became just the fourth Big Red individual to win the event and the first since Joe Dunham did so in 1999. Both runners advanced to the NCAA Cross Country Championships.
Torrens' last 17 men's teams have earned four firsts (1990, '91, '92, '98) and six seconds (1989, '93, '97, '99, '04, '08), in the North Coast Athletic Conference, and his women's team won its first-ever conference crown in 1998 and repeated the feat in 1999 and 2000. The consistent prowess of DU's teams has earned Torrens five NCAC Cross Country Coach of the Year awards. In addition, the men have qualified for a spot in the NCAA regional meet in 10 of the last 11 seasons, and the women have traveled to regional competition for the past nine years.
Torrens graduated from Muskingum College in 1968. He began his coaching career at Utica High School from 1968-1972 and continued at Newark High School from 1972-1979. In 1979, he accepted the opportunity to come to Denison as head cross country coach and assistant track coach.
In order to further his coaching expertise, Torrens has completed the TAC Level II training seminars held at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. He has also served as an official at the NCAA Division III Indoor and Outdoor Championships at various times over the last 25 years.
Torrens and his wife, Sarah, reside in nearby Utica.