January 16, 2009
By John Philip Wyllie
A year ago, Hilltop High’s 112 pound wrestler, Anthony Salinas, produced a long list of accomplishments on the mat for the Lancers in what was his sophomore campaign. Salinas went 30-16 on the year and placed in every tournament in which he wrestled except one. At season’s end he was just two rounds away from reaching the state competition in Bakersfield. He has returned this year stronger and more motivated than ever. Having come close, his goal this year is to reach the rarified air of the state tournament. With the way he has been improving he may be one of the few San Diego County wrestlers to make it.
At the conclusion of last year Salinas placed second in the Division II CIF Tournament. At present, he is rated number one in Division II and fourth overall in the county.
“Anthony is the backbone of our team,” according to Lancer coach, Thomas Juarez. “He is only a junior and he has by far demonstrated the most improvement since last year. The biggest change that I have seen in Anthony is in his commitment. He ran cross country in the off-season and he reduced his weight to wrestle in a lower weight class. He is a team leader and a captain and we are expecting a lot from him this season.”
When asked about what brings him success on the mat Salinas told me that he is good at controlling people from the top, leg riding, turning people from top to bottom and takedowns.
Juarez had nothing but praise for his top wrestler and Salinas credits Juarez for helping him get to where he is today.
“Coach Juarez has taught me a lot. He has showed me how to properly ride legs, how to take people down from a standing position and how to control and manhandle people. I have also learned a lot about self-discipline and sportsmanship. It is really helpful that he gets on the mat and shows us what to do rather than just telling us.”
Salinas had never wrestled prior to enrolling at Hilltop two years ago. Responding to a flyer he decided to take a shot at it and quickly found that he had a natural aptitude for the sport. He has stayed with it ever since and has in just two short years, developed into one of the county’s elite wrestlers.
Salinas has used the self-discipline he has learned through wrestling and applied it outside of the sport. His G.P.A. is now up around 3.0 and that will be enough to gain him entrance to many colleges once he graduates next year. His hope is to gain a wrestling scholarship and Cal-Baptist University in Riverside is of particular interest.
His more immediate goals are to win at CIF and to win the Masters Tournament. That will punch his ticket Bakersfield where the ultimate prize awaits.