Grosse Pointe North grappler Salazar relishes first, last trip to state finals

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Grosse Pointe Times | Published February 29, 2012

WARREN — Grosse Pointe North 119-pound grappler Patrick Salazar didn’t take the route many of classmates took when they joined the wrestling team together four years ago.

“A lot of guys who I came into the program quit a long time ago,” said Salazar, who at press time had a 44-7 record and was the team’s lone senior.

“I wasn’t going to do that. I figure, if I start something, I might as well finish it.”

Salazar is hoping to finish his career on a high note. This year’s state finals, held March 1-3 at The Palace of Auburn Hills, marks the first time he has fought his way to the big show. The senior fell a match short in his junior season.

“It’s like all the hard work I’ve been putting in finally start to click this year,” Salazar said. “Being the only senior, I kind of wanted to set an example for all the younger guys and show them what happens when you work hard.”

First-year Norsemen coach Eric Julien said Salazar set a goal to place at states. The top eight finishers place at the competition.

Julien added that although the team struggled this season — North lost a number of matches because of having to void several weight classes — Salazar provided great leadership to the younger wrestlers on the 10-man team.

In the days leading up to what will be his lone state finals appearance, Salazar is working on fine-tuning his mat work. He said he wants to focus more on mental prep.

“I want to make sure I have a ‘don’t quit’ attitude,” said Salazar, who in the fall will study music at Wayne State University.

“It’d be amazing if I were able to place. I feel like if I work hard, anything can happen.”