STEPHEN DECATUR WINTER SPORTS PREVIEW
(Dec. 6, 2019) The Stephen Decatur wrestling team had a stellar 2018-19 season and the Seahawks want to repeat that success this year.
The team only graduated three starters so the core group is back to compete.
The Seahawks went undefeated (13-0) during the regular season. They captured the 3A East Region dual meet championship – the team’s first since 2011.
Decatur also won the 3A state dual meet title. The last time Decatur had won a state dual championship title was in 2008.
In the past 50 years, Decatur sports teams have won five state championships. The wrestling team holds two of those titles.
The Berlin squad also won a Bayside Conference championship last season. Six Seahawks – a program record – won their divisions and individual Bayside championship awards.
Eight wrestlers qualified for the state tournament. Seven are returning to the mat this season, including sophomore Noah Reho, who captured the 4A/3A state title in the 126-pound weight class.
He was the only Maryland grappler to win a state title as a freshman last year.
Reho is the first Decatur wrestler to win a state championship since 2009. He is only the fourth wrestler in program history to earn a state title.
Danny Miller holds the Decatur record of three state titles. The Decatur alum won in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
Reho finished the 2018-19 season with a 45-5 record. He also captured a regional championship title and took third in the Bayside Conference meet.
Reho will wrestle in the 138-pound weight class and said he is excited for his sophomore season.
“I’m shooting for four state titles, so I feel like this year is the most important year because this year is like if my first year is a one-hit wonder. I just have pressure to win this year,” he said. “My goal is to win this year, but not only myself. I believe we have a couple on the roster that can win this year.”
A total of six Decatur wresters were state place winners – a school record.
Jagger Clapsadle (43-4) came in second place in the 113-pound division and Nico D’Amico (44-6) finished in third place in the 120-pound weight class.
Both are back this year and again are team captains. Clapsadle, a senior, will wrestle in the 120-pound division, while D’Amico, a junior, will compete at 132 pounds.
“I’m really excited to be a leader of the team. I know we have a really strong group, a bunch of very experienced guys and we all have a great bond, so we have that team dynamic that we had last year that will enable us to get that team title,” Clapsadle, a three-year team member, said. “As a team captain I plan on leading the guys to another state title.”
After finishing runner-up the last two years, Clapsadle want an individual state title this year.
D’Amico would also like to improve upon his state finish from last season and for Decatur to bring home another championship.
“All of our guys have a big bond so I think it will be easy coming together and achieving our goal,” the two-year Decatur wrestler said. “We definitely have a big target on our back, but we’re ready for whoever. [To be successful] all 14 weight classes have to come together to wrestle hard.”
Shamar Baines (32-11) placed fifth at 106 pounds and James Parana (13-7) took sixth in the 160-pound weight class at states.
Baines, a senior, who Martinek said “peaked at the end of the year at the right time” will wrestle at 113-120 pounds.
Parana broke his left leg at the beginning of the 2018-19 season, but came back and did well at the end of the year. The junior will compete in the 160-pound division this season.
Kyle Elliott (35-13) and Micah Bourne (37-10) also participate in the state tournament at 132 and 170 pounds, respectively. They will step on the mat in the 145-pound and 170-182-pound divisions this year, respectively.
Baines, Clapsadle, D’Amico, Parana and Bourne won Bayside Conference titles in their weight classes last year.
Junior Johnny Hofman also returns and will wrestle at 195 pounds.
Coach Todd Martinek has 20 wrestlers on varsity. Twelve of them competed last season.
Several newcomers will make an impact this year, including freshmen Logan Intrieri (113) and Jayden Criner (132-138) and sophomore Alex Koulikov (160).
Martinek said the team is strongest in the middleweight divisions – 120-195 pounds.
“A lot of the younger guys are learning pretty quickly and the older guys are working hard. I’ve been happy with everybody’s work ethic so far,” Martinek, the 2018-19 Bayside Conference Coach of the Year, said.
Unfortunately, the team is battling injuries right now as the group plans to take a trip to Pennsylvania for a tournament this weekend.
“We probably won’t have five or six starters because of injuries and also SATs and some other stuff,” Martinek said. “It’s kind of hard because you want to push ahead but these injuries and these other things are holding us back.
“It should be a relatively tough tournament. We’ll see where we’re at early in the season,” he continued. “Hopefully … we’ll do well and learn from it.”
With the injuries, Martinek said it might take a few months for Decatur to have its ideal lineup on the mat.
“We’re just trying to take it day by day and really, with injuries some of these kids are overlapping in weights that to get our best lineup might take until February,” he said. “But, we didn’t get our best lineup on the mat until February of last year and it worked out.”
Schools are divided into classifications based on enrollment. The Decatur wrestling team was in the 3A classification last year but moved to 2A East this season.
“We’ll be going from the smallest 3A school to the largest 2A school,” Martinek said at the end of the 2018-19 season. “We just want to go wherever there’s more competition. I’m up for whatever as long as it’s as competitive as it can be.”
Martinek, now in his ninth season as coach, said he would like to win another state dual title.
“I really could see, if everybody got healthy and to the weight they can get to, we could have as many as nine kids place at the state tournament, which would be a record,” he added. “I’d say that’s a lofty goal, but you shouldn’t set goals you know you’re going to meet.”
This is the first year the NCAA has recognized women’s wresting as an emerging sport. Maryland is the 18th state to have a women’s wresting state tournament for the 2019-20 season.
The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association will have a girls’ tournament in addition to the boys’ state championship this year.
Decatur has four females competing this season.
“They’re very athletic and tough. They’re working hard and doing well,” Martinek said. “Some of them can compete with the boys. They’re getting better every day and I’m curious to see how they do at the end of the season. I think they’ll learn a lot. I think some of those girls can place at the state tournament as well.”
Martinek has added Debbie Stubblebine to the coaching staff to act as liaison and work with the girls.
Decatur will compete in the Rough Rider Tournament in Pennsylvania this Saturday. The Seahawks’ first meet of the season is Wednesday against the Mardela Warriors in Mardela Springs, at 5 p.m.