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(March 15, 2013) As senior Ryan Kail walked into the quiet, empty wrestling room at Stephen Decatur High School on Tuesday, a place where he’s spent countless hours over the past three years, he could already feel sadness setting in. The Seahawk standout ended his final season at Decatur two weeks ago and is now looking forward to his next season on the mat — as a University of Maryland Terrapin.

Kail, who wrestled in the heavyweight division during each of the three years he competed, said he enjoyed his overall experience wrestling for Decatur.

“It was fun. I started as a sophomore so I was kind of new to the whole sport. My first year I was on JV, then throughout the years I just kept progressing,” he said. “I’ve learned to always try to be your best because of the tradition that we have.”

Kail said the Decatur wrestling program is traditionally so strong because of the “dedicated coaches that try to get the best out of all of us.”

This season, Kail finished runner-up during the Bayside Conference championship meet. He won the 4A/3A East Regional title in the 285-pound division. Kail, who turned 18 years old on Thursday, also competed in the 4A/3A state tournament.

He was not only successful on the mat, but on the football field as well. As a senior, Kail was named to the All-Conference First Team for offense, defense and special teams. In December, Kail played in the Maryland Crab Bowl — the only statewide high school football all-star game that features the best seniors from public and private schools in Maryland.

Kail was recruited by college coaches for football and wrestling. After weighing his options, he chose to wrestle for the University of Maryland. The school, he said is “a good fit” for him.

“I was just looking to get into the best school and Maryland is the best school for wrestling and academics. It’s a big school and it’s not too far, but it’s not too close either, and they have a really good wrestling program,” he said. “I just like the ‘Maryland pride’ thing — being able to go to a high school in Maryland and then be able to wrestle for Maryland seems pretty cool.

“I’m really excited,” he continued. “They’re moving into the Big Ten Conference with schools like Ohio State and Iowa so I’ll get to travel a lot.”

Kail was recruited in December and after visiting the school and meeting some wrestlers, he made a verbal commitment at the end of February, a few days before he competed in the state tournament. He will sign on the dotted line in April.

Kail plans to redshirt (delay or suspension of an athlete’s participation in order to lengthen his or her period of eligibility) his freshman year.

“I won’t go to any of the matches, but I’ll practice with team and go to open tournaments with all the other kids that redshirted and that will help me get better and get experience. So after my senior year, I’ll have another year of eligibility,” Kail said. “I’m redshirting my freshman year because I wouldn’t be able to break the [starting] line-up because they have a returning heavyweight [who’s] really good. He’s going to be a senior. I’m just going to try to get as good as I can and hopefully break into the line-up my sophomore year.”

Todd Martinek, head coach of the Decatur varsity wrestling team, said he is proud of Kail.

“[Ryan] and his family have made a lot of sacrifices to wrestle and be dedicated during the season and off-season. It shows what an athlete he is and I can’t wait to see him wrestle for his home state ‘Terps,’” Martinek said. “It also means a lot to our program sending another athlete to a Division I program. I think Ryan is going to learn a lot from the great coaches at Maryland.”

Kail plans to major in criminal justice while at the University of Maryland and hopes for a career with the FBI.

Stephen Decatur senior Ryan Kail has committed to wrestle for the University of Maryland.
Lisa Capitelli, Ocean City Today
Lisa Capitelli, Ocean City Today
Managing Editor Lisa Capitelli, a New York native, entered Salisbury University (then Salisbury State) in the fall of 1998 and graduated in the spring of 2002 with a Bachelors of Arts degree. She majored in communication arts, and minored in art, with concentration on photography. Lisa began her career at Ocean City Today as a staff writer in February 2003. She was promoted to Assistant Editor in August 2011 and Managing Editor in May, 2013. Editorial responsibilities include covering sports — from local high school games, to fishing tournaments and recreation and park programs, the business community and weekly happenings, events and activities.

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