Scottsboro head wrestling coach Chris Staton had long believed Damian Ramirez had the potential to be a state-championship level wrestler if he could avoid the injury bug.

Ramirez, finally healthy for his senior year, proved his coach’s belief accurate.

Ramirez posted a 37-4 record and finished as the Class 1A-5A state runner-up in the 170-pound weight class. Ramirez also went 4-0 in Class 1A-5A Duals State Tournament to help the Wildcats’ win the program’s first AHSAA Duals state championship.

“This was really the first full year that he’s been healthy the full year. The results speak for themselves,” Staton said.

Ramirez said battling through injuries was difficult physically and mentally, but the chance to prove his true ability on the mat kept him motivated.

“It’s not fun getting hurt and it’s not fun not getting to finish the season,” he said. “You always want to prove yourself and I finally got to do that.”

Ramirez is about get the opportunity to prove himself at the collegiate level after signing to wrestle for Life University, an NAIA school in Marietta, Georgia.

Life is coming off its program’s all-time best national finish, placing third in the 2019 NAIA Men’s Wrestling Championships.

Ramirez chose Life over Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri, Brewton Parker University in Mount Vernon, Georgia and Thomas Moore University in Crestview Hills, Kentucky.

What put Life University over the edge for Ramirez had nothing to do with wrestling.

An aspiring chiropractor, LU had something the other colleges that offered him did not — a nationally-renowned chiropractic program.

“It was just the best fit for me,” Ramirez said. “Great wrestling (program). The campus was really nice and it’s close to home, and they had the chiropractic program, so I decided to sign with them.”

Ramirez said college wrestling “will be tough.” Staton said Ramirez’s work ethic will serve him well at the collegiate level.

“He’s a hard worker, he loves the sport and he’s motivated and wants to get better,” Staton said. “He’s really gotten better and can still get a lot better. He’s not reached his peak. He’ll do some good things there. I’m looking forward to watching him compete.”

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