BERLIN- Stephen Decatur’s 9th Annual War on the Shore wrestling tournament gets underway next week at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center for the first time with some of the top high school programs in the mid-Atlantic area converging on the area for the two-day event.
The War on the Shore tournament, which features some of the best high school wrestling programs in Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and West Virginia, has been moved this year to the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center for the first time after a one-year stint at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center in Ocean City. For the first seven years, the tournament was held at host Stephen Decatur High School but the growth in the size of the field of teams and the thousands of spectators who turn out for the annual event.
Tournament director Todd Martinek said this week logistical problems prevented the tournament from returning to the Ocean City convention center this year. Maryland has strict start date requirements for sanctioned tournaments requiring the tournament to be moved back a week later this year and the Ocean City convention center was not available on the new dates.
Otherwise, it will be business as usual for the annual War on the Shore, sponsored by the U.S. Marine Corps, despite the venue change. The tournament gets underway next Friday with official matches getting underway after all of the participants are registered and weighed in. The action will continue practically around the clock on Friday and all day Saturday with championship matches in the various weight classes set for next Saturday night.
The field currently includes 27 teams from four states including some of the top high school wrestling programs in the mid-Atlantic region. For example, Delaware state champion Sussex Central is returning this year, as is perennial Baltimore powerhouse Mount St. Joseph along with dozens of other top programs in the region. Martinek said Archbishop Spalding from the Baltimore area should be considered the early favorite in the tournament.
“This is one of the best fields ever although Spalding might be the team to beat this year,” he said. “It’s a great field with some really impressive programs and it should be one of the highlights on the area high school wrestling calendar.”
For host Decatur, which is expected to be as strong as ever this year, the annual tournament often serves as a barometer for the season for the Seahawks. Martinek said the Seahawks should be in position for a solid top 10 finish again this year.
The tournament gets underway next Friday at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center in Salisbury. Tickets are $25 for a two-day pass, or $15 for a single day pass. Anyone wishing to watch just the finals matches on Saturday night can purchase a ticket for just $5.