(Feb. 8, 2019) The Stephen Decatur wrestling team captured the 3A East Region dual meet championship title on Wednesday in Berlin.

Decatur, 13-0 going into the tournament, received the No. 1 seed. The Seahawks battled James M. Bennett (7-6) in the semifinal round and won 52-30.

“We didn’t start off well. I thought we would win a couple matches early and we didn’t,” Decatur Coach Todd Martinek said. “Then, we changed our lineup a little bit. I was trying to rest some guys. Bennett came out and wrestled well those first two matches, then we got a little momentum back.”

Decatur led 52-12 with three matches remaining. Since there was no chance for Bennett to score enough points to win, Martinek forfeited the final three matches to rest his wrestlers for the championship round.

No. 2 Chesapeake of Anne Arundel (10-3) went head-to-head with No. 3 Atholton (9-5) on another mat.

Atholton won 46-24 and advanced to the championship round against Decatur.

Decatur earned a 37-24 victory to capture its first regional dual title since 2011.

“Atholton is good. They got some studs and we beat a couple of their studs,” Martinek said. “Overall, we wrestled well. They could have easily beaten us a couple of matches and we just kept our cool, wrestled hard and came out with a win. It doesn’t have to be pretty, we just got to keep on winning.”

Decatur led 28-24 with two matches remaining. All senior captain Lukas Layton needed to do was win by a decision and those three points would secure a victory for his team.

“When you have Lukas Layton trying to finish it out for you, you’re pretty confident because the kid’s got a heart this big,” Martinek said, stretching out his arms.

It was a battle, but Layton held on, outscoring his 182-pound opponent, 13-11, to seal the deal.

“That match with me and that kid was a pretty good lineup, and it just came down to heart, I think. We both fought hard,” Layton said.

Senior Daletez Smith’s pin at 195-pound was icing on the cake for Decatur.

“This is awesome. It’s not just about me, it’s about the team more importantly right now and we’re going to states,” Layton said. “We’re all excited. We can’t wait. We’re going to win it.”

Decatur will now compete in the 3A state dual championship at North Point High School in Waldorf. The semifinal round is slated to begin at 2 p.m.

The last time Decatur won a state dual championship title was 2008.

Linganore (16-0) is seeded No. 1, while Decatur (15-0) earned the second seed. The Seahawks will face No. 3 Bel Air (15-0), who they defeated 44-25 during the Iron Horse Duals in early January. Linganore will take on No. 4 Huntingtown (14-1) in the semifinal rounds. Decatur topped Huntingtown 45-30 during the LaPlata Duals in December.

The winners will then go head-to-head for the state dual title.

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