The Eastwood Boys' Golf team is rumored to have a secret weapon. It is not a special club or even a ball; it is sophomore Michael Salazar. Salazar is ranked third among the high school players in the El Paso area behind two students from Coronado High School. He placed eighth at the Matt Hicks Tournament in October of this year with a 77 on the first day, and 80 on the second for a total score of 157. In the Far West Texas Tournament in early November, he won second place with a score of 147, three over par.
One of the many reasons Salazar is a successful golfer is because of the fact that he is dedicated, "I have been playing for eleven years after my dad got me interested," Salazar said. He invests a total of fourteen hours a week perfecting his game, during the school year, and about 50 hours a week during the summer, and enjoys every aspect of the sport.
"Michael is pretty much my best friend," senior Lady Trooper golfer, Deana Portillo, explained, "we play and practice together, and I guess that makes us closer." Portillo also noted that Salazar "is always out practicing and he knows when he needs to practice. He is disciplined about that. I think he is one of the best players I have ever seen just because of how modest he is."
Chucky Quijas, also a golfer for the Troopers, agrees that Salazar is dedicated to the game of golf, "Michael really loves the game. He definitely ranks up there as being one of the best players I've seen. He knows how to handle situations when he is under pressure, and that's really good."
According to the boys' golf coach, Kim Smith, "Michael has something in common in the history of Eastwood High School golf in that he is hard working, dedicated, and has an outstanding short game. He spends his free time working all aspects of his game, especially his short game." As for the rest of the season, Smith expects Salazar to "continue to be a major force in the local golf scene, and have a breakthrough year with some high finishes and possible individual victories out of town, and continue to be a team leader." Jon Stovall, Eastwood girls' golf coach said, "What's impressive about Michael is that he knows how to play his own game. There are lots of boys who hit the ball much farther, and the teenage male ego sometimes makes young players overswing or get caught up in trying to be 'manly' and hit it harder. He doesn't take that bait; he just plays his game and usually beats the heck out of those other players."
Smith continued to say that he is impressed with Salazar's quick ability to learn, pay close attention to detail, and follows instructions. Smith says in the future he sees Michael becoming the best high school golfer in El Paso.
The Trooper Boys' golf team is ranked 30th in state out of 215 schools in the 5A division, and Salazar is ranked 151 out of over more than 900 students. Upcoming tournaments for the Troopers will be next semester in the spring where hopefully Salazar will continue to be an asset for the team, and recognized as one of the best high school golfers in El Paso.