(Dec. 7, 2012) Approximately 600 wrestlers will take to the mats this weekend to battle it out in 14 weight classes as part of Stephen Decatur’s 11th annual War on the Shore tournament at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center in Salisbury.
Twenty-nine teams from Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., are scheduled to compete in the two-day event, sponsored by the U.S. Marine Corps.
Todd Martinek, WOTS director and head coach of the Decatur Seahawks, expects the tournament, set for Dec. 7-8, to be a test for all competitors. It will feature a range of experienced wrestlers, from state champions to first-year participants. Several of the teams have also earned multiple conference, regional and state titles, and a few squads are ranked nationally.
There will be a junior varsity tournament, as well.
“This tournament is tougher than many state tournaments across the country,” Martinek said.
As War on the Shore grew in popularity over the years, developing into one of the premier public school tournaments in the state, Stephen Decatur High School in Berlin became too small to host the event. In 2009, the competition was held at the Ocean City convention center on 40th Street and included varsity and JV teams. Though the tournament drew an impressive crowd to the venue, the convention center wasn’t available in 2010, so rather than limit the number of participants, the event was moved to the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center. The Salisbury venue hosted the tournament last year, as well.
First-round preliminary varsity matches are scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. today, Friday. The field will be narrowed down to the top 16 in each weight class, who will compete at 5 p.m. Varsity quarterfinals and consolidation rounds 1 and 2 will follow.
Saturday’s competitions will begin at 9 a.m. with junior varsity quarterfinal matches on eight mats. Varsity matches are set to kick off at 10 a.m. The varsity placement (seventh/eighth, fifth/sixth, third/fourth and championship) matches will start around 5:45 p.m. on four mats.
“[We’ll be] exposing our wrestlers to the best competition in the country. I would like four or five to place in the top eight,” said Martinek.
He will use the tournament as an opportunity to gauge where his wrestlers stand individually and as a team against strong competition early in the season.
Admission cost is $15 for a one-day pass or $20 for the weekend. Martinek said he expects between 1,500 and 2,500 spectators throughout the two days.
For more information about the War on the Shore tournament, visit www.sdwarontheshore.com.