Ocean City Today

Coach Martinek pleased with hard work by wrestlers

By Managing Editor, Lisa Capitelli | Dec 07, 2017
Photo by: Lisa Capitelli “We’re in pretty good shape and we’re fixing a lot of things and the kids are very open to learning,” said Decatur wrestling Coach Todd Martinek. “I’m relatively happy where we’re at.”

(Dec. 8, 2017) This year’s Stephen Decatur wrestling team is a tight-knit group; the grapplers get along well and want to work to improve.

“We’re a little young. We lost eight seniors – two of the best ones we’ve had with Robert Kaminski and Andy McKahan. They won seven Bayside [Conference] titles between them,” Decatur Coach Todd Martinek said. “We lost all four of our Bayside champions from last year. We lost a lot, but we had good kids behind them and they’re going to have to step up. They’re working hard so far.”

Martinek, now in his seventh season as head coach, said he is pleased with the effort and performance so early in the season.

“We’re banged up a little already, but in general we’re where I would like us to be,” he said. “We’re in pretty good shape and we’re fixing a lot of things and the kids are very open to learning. I’m relatively happy where we’re at.”

About 22 wrestlers are competing for the varsity squad this season. Six full-time starters have returned. Some junior varsity athletes who have moved up for 2017-18 got in a few varsity matches last year.

“There’s so many kids in the lineup who did not start last year or they were hurt,” Martinek said.

He thinks the strongest part of the lineup will be from 106 to 132 pounds.

“We’re very competitive there,” he said. “My lower weight classes are pretty good and our upper weights are good, but I think our weakness is probably in the middle weight classes. We just got some kids that were hurt or are unproven so they’ve got to step up in the middle. I think they’re capable of doing that.”

Martinek plans to rotate his six captains during each meet.

Upper/heavyweight captains are veterans Caleb Bourne (195/220 pounds), a senior, and junior Lukas Layton (170/182) and newcomer, senior Justin Manganiello (195).

Bourne finished runner-up in the 195-pound Bayside Conference championship weight class last year. He also came in second in the 4A/3A South Region tournament. He is the only returner who qualified for states last year.

“We have a 14-man lineup. Some weight classes are three-men deep,” Bourne said. “I think that as a returning captain this year I’ll be able to push the guys better in the back to come up to the front, give them encouragement, lead by example and show these kids if you work you can move up to that first spot.”

Bourne has been on the team for four years. He is shooting for a state title this season, so he is putting in extra work to achieve that goal, training in the mornings and evenings in addition to participating in team practices.

“I think we’re doing great. We lost a couple kids, but we gained a couple,” he said. “I’m really excited. I can’t wait.”

Layton finished third in the Bayside last year at 152 pounds. He has been on the team for three seasons.

“I’m just trying to set a really good example for everybody,” he said. “We need a lot of the younger kids to step up because we did lose a good amount last year. I’m just trying to pick them up … everybody’s pushing each other.”

Layton hopes to qualify for the state tournament and place in his weight class.

Lightweight captains are senior veterans Jeremy Danner (126) and Cade Solito (120/126), and sophomore Jagger Clapsadle, a transfer from South Carroll.

As a freshman, Clapsadle took fifth in state at 106 pounds. His team won the 2A/1A championship title.

Other newcomers who Martinek will look to contribute include sophomores Shamar Baines (106) and DJ Taylor (220/heavyweight), juniors Jhymir Blake (138) and Zain Brady (160) and senior David Braciszewski (145). Some of them competed in several varsity matches last year.

The Seahawks lost their first meet of the season last year, then won the next 13. After capturing the Bayside Conference championship 10 consecutive seasons (2002-2011), Decatur came up a bit short the past few years. The Seahawks were determined to bring home the title last year and they accomplished that.

Decatur finished in fourth place in the 4A/3A South Regional tournament and 12th overall at states.

Martinek said the goal is to be back-to-back Bayside champions and win a regional title.

“If we stay healthy and keep working hard I think we can do that,” he said. “Then we get to states. I think four or five state place winners is not out of the question.”

Instead of 4A/3A and 2A/1A combined classifications, they will be broken up into separate divisions this year – 1A, 2A, 3A and 4A – like other high school sports. Decatur previously competed in 4A/3A and was one of the smaller schools in the group. The Seahawks will be part of the 3A East class.

“It just makes it a little more fair,” Martinek said. “Being the smallest 3A school with like 1,200 kids you’re competing against schools with 3,000 [in the 4A/3A classification]. Mathematically it’s tough to compete.”

Decatur won its first meet of the season, 72-12 over the Mardela Warriors on Wednesday in Mardela Springs. The Seahawks earned pins in 11 of the 14 matches.

“[It was] a little sloppy, but we’re in good shape and they fought hard,” Martinek said.

Baines (106), Clapsadle (113), Solito (126), Danner (132), Braciszewski (152), Layton (182), Manganiello (195), Taylor (220), Bourne (285) and sophomores Tony Scafone (120) and Kyle Elliot (138) pinned their opponents.

Senior Austin White (160) won by forfeit.

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