A tennis doubles team back in the early days of the 20th century, Derek Holland in the discus in more recent times and wrestler Rogelio Salazar in 2013 all have the accolade “State Champ” on their resume.
Salazar fought through three regional champions on his way to the title last weekend. At the state meet in Austin, each weight class has 16 wrestlers competing, four from each UIL region in the state.
Salazar was second at his Region IV meet at 113 pounds. He had to battle through matches against three region champions before claiming the state title. He even had to defeat his Region IV nemesis who had beaten him, 4-2, in the finals in San Antonio to take away a Region IV title.
His loss at region was tough to take.
“I was nervous going into the match, and I expected to compete. I lost, but I knew I could do better,” Salazar said.
The Trojan came back and easily defeated his region foe at the state meet.
“Once I got the first takedown and then led 4-0 in the second period, I knew I had him,” Salazar said.
Salazar’s journey to being state champ began four years ago as a freshman.
“I love the sport,” he said.
His devotion to grappling even came up against his parents’ wishes in his early years of high school.
“I was never home. I was always training or at practice, and my parents wanted me to quit, to be at home more often. But, I wasn’t going to give up something I love,” Salazar said.
His parents came around to his way of thinking and supported him all the way to state this year.
Salazar began the year weighing in at and wrestling at 135 pounds. He knew he had to “cut” weight to have a better chance at success this year.
“It took a lot of training and eating right. When my friends went out to eat or played around, I went to practice and the gym,” Salazar said.
“It was hard.”
Salazar also credits his summer work in freestyle wrestling for helping him develop techniques in taking down his foes from a neutral position.
“My ‘shooting’ got a lot better with the freestyle training,” Salazar said.
Shooting is the technique where both wrestlers are standing and one “shoots” in to take one or both legs away from his opponent and, in most instances, produces a takedown.
His teammate, Mario Perez, was also instrumental in providing sparring sessions with the state champ. Both wrestlers benefited from the practice sessions.
“Mario helped me out a whole lot,” said Salazar.
Rogelio finished his senior year with a 28-3 record and possibly a new nickname – Champ.