BERLIN- Stephen Decatur’s 10th Annual War on the Shore wrestling tournament gets underway next week at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center for the second year in a row with some of the top high school wrestling programs in the mid-Atlantic and all over the country 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, Washington, D.C., West Virginia, Pennsylvania and even Wisconsin this year. The field of 32 teams features 15 whose lists of accomplishments are impressive. The top Maryland teams in the field include Mount St. Joseph, the 2010 Maryland Independent State Champions, La Plata, Archbishop Curley, Archbishop Spalding and, of course, the host Decatur. Other Maryland teams in the field include Rising Sun, Broadneck, Severna Park, Easton, Glenelg, Old Mill, Patuxent, St. Mary’s Ryken, Chesapeake and Arundel.
Delaware teams in the field include 2010 Henlopen Conference champion and state runner-up Sussex Central, Sussex Tech, Middletown, Caravel Academy, St. Mark’s and Salesianum. Virginia teams in the field include 18-time state champion Great Bridge along with Northampton, Millbrook, Hanover, Riverbend, and Hickory. Teams from Washington, D.C. in the field include powerhouses DeMatha, Good Counsel and Gonzaga.
“It’s a great field of 32 teams from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia,” said tournament director and new Decatur head coach Todd Martinek this week. “We have seven of the top 15 in Maryland coming, along with 32 state finalists and 15 nationally-ranked wrestlers.”
For the first seven years of the War on the Shore, the tournament was held at host Decatur, but the growth of the field of teams and the thousands of spectators who turn out for the annual event forced organizers to seek a new venue. It was held at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center for one year before logistical challenges forced the move to the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center last year.
For host Decatur, which is expected to be as strong as ever this year, the annual tournament often serves a barometer for the season. Martinek said this week the format doesn’t typically favor the Seahawks, but he expects a strong finish again this year. Last year, Archbishop Spalding won the tournament, followed by Sussex Central and La Plata, while Decatur finished 15th.
“If we can finish in the Top 15, I would be happy,” he said. “We’re more of a dual meet team.”