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State 5A wrestling: Salazar's tough road pays off in 160-pound finals

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By Steve Smith

DENVER – It was little wonder that Adams City's Marquez Salazar looked a little worn out after his semifinal win over Legacy's Grady Funk Feb. 22.

The win put the ACHS senior into tonight's 160-pound finals against Douglas County's Austin Kelchen.

Salazar's semifinal win (the final was 5-4) followed a tight, 2-1 decision over Horizon's Dillon Lucas in the quarterfinals and a 3-1, overtime win over Pomona's Roman Cruz in the opening round.

"It's been a good two days of wrestling, but I'm still trying to recover from my injuries," Salazar said. "I just have to pass through it and reach my goals. I sprained my hamstring at the Top of the Rockies. My MCL is loose. Over the summer, I severely strained my IT band. I had a high lateral collateral strain in my knee. I can compete. Wrestling is one of the sports I love."

Funk tried a series of shots on Salazar as time ran out in the semifinal round. The match ended as Salazar warded off one last attempt.

"I kept my composure. I toughened up through the match," Salazar said. "I was able to stay in the center and kept myself in good position and set up my shots. I tried to take away his ability to be offensive."

Salazar said he gets nervous before each match as he tries to think about the "perfect match."

"When I get on the mat, it all releases," Salazar said. "Being nervous is a part of the sport. You're always going to be nervous going into a match and not knowing what's going to happen. I'm more nervous at a tournament like this. I try to keep the negativity out of my head and tell myself, 'I can do it.'"