(March 7, 2014) Six wrestlers will represent Stephen Decatur this weekend during the 3A/4A state championship at Cole Field House on the University of Maryland–College Park campus.
Those Seahawks placed fourth or better during last weekend’s 3A/4A South Regional meet at Huntingtown High School to advance to the state tournament.
Ten Decatur grapplers competed in the regional competition and led their team to a second-place finish. The Berlin squad scored 121 points. Huntingtown took top honors with 146.5 points. North Point landed in the third-place spot, logging 117 points, out of 25 teams.
“As a team, we wrestled great. Overall, from top to bottom, I was pleased. We got a couple of wins to kids we lost to at the beginning of the season, which is good to see,” said Decatur Coach Todd Martinek. “Six kids to states out of 10, that’s pretty good. I think the other four realized they certainly belonged there and they deserved to be there.”
Two Seahawks–freshman Andy McKahan and senior Nick Bennett–won regional titles.
Martinek said it is the first time a Decatur freshman has earned a regional championship.
“His last two matches were the best he’s wrestled this season,” Martinek said.
McKahan outscored High Point’s Tyler Whitlock 13-11 in the first round of the 113-pound weight class division. He topped Huntingtown’s Gino Sita 6-1 in the semifinals and edged out Chopticon’s Jarrett Arnold 4-3 in the finals.
“I think I wrestled [well]. I beat [Sita] in the semis who beat me earlier in the year,” McKahan said. “I wrestled a senior in the finals and I was down 3-2 with 16 seconds left. I knew I had to do something and I reversed him. It was really exciting [to win regionals].”
McKahan hopes to make it to the state semifinal round, when he thinks he will most like face Damascus’ Mikey Macklin, the defending state champion.
“That will be a tough match,” he said.
McKahan (31-4) said he is not nervous about his first state tournament appearance.
“I’m a freshman so I’ve just got to make a name for myself for next year,” he said. “I’ve been working hard and this tournament counts the most.”
Martinek said Bennett was “dominating” during the regional competition. He pinned his first-round opponent, Bladensburg’s Mccari Watson, in the 145-pound division. Bennett topped Suitland’s DeAndre Norman 6-2 in the semifinals. He shutout Leonardtown’s Andrew Lee 5-0 in the finals.
“For the most part, I was satisfied with the way I wrestled. I think I could have wrestled a little better on my feet,” Bennett said. “I’m pretty excited [to be a regional champion].”
This is Bennett’s first year wrestling for Decatur. He transferred from Sussex Tech in Delaware for the 2013-14 school year. As a sophomore, he finished third in the 126-pound weight class in the Delaware state meet.
Becoming a state champion has been a dream for Bennett since he was a young grappler.
To take home a title this weekend, Bennett (32-4) said “I have to be more aggressive on the mat, still wrestle smart and set the pace.”
“I don’t really get nervous. I just go out there to wrestle,” he said. “Every single kid is going to be tough at states.”
Senior captain Andrew Borradaile finished second in the 160-pound division. Trailing 4-0 early, he came back to win his first match 6-5 over James M. Bennett’s Joey Reeves. Borradaile’s opponent injured his elbow in the semifinals and couldn’t finish the match. In the finals, Martinek said, up 7-6, Borradaile was working to tilt Northern’s Jackson Drum, but while his shoulders were on the mat, the ref awarded Drum a pin.
“By the time I noticed my shoulders on the mat and I heard people screaming ‘he’s pinned’ I was trying to fix it as quick as I could, but the ref called it,” Borradaile said.
“I didn’t agree with the ref’s call,” Martinek said. Borradaile handled it well, Martinek said, and “took it like a man.”
“It was heartbreaking because I lost in the regional finals last year too,” said Borradaile (33-6), who thought he wrestled well overall at regionals. “I’m looking to definitely do well at states. I have yet to place top eight. Kids are going to be coming out tough. I need to wrestle every match like it’s my last.”
Senior Ethan Eibl finished second in the 220-pound division. He pinned his first-round opponent and won his second match 9-4. He was up 4-2 over Leonardtown’s Brian Mays, but received two stalling calls which evened the match 4-4. With less than 10 seconds left, Eibl scored two points for a takedown and three for putting Mays on his back to secure the victory.
“I was really excited. I figured out what I needed to do and I did it,” he said.
He lost in the finals to Northern’s Kyle Lamond, 4-2.
“I did good in the first couple of matches–I beat Brian Mays in the semis and that was pretty big–but I could have done better in the finals,” he said. “I didn’t take any shots and that’s why I lost. It was disappointing, but it gave me a wake-up call for states that I need to practice hard and take my shots.”
Eibl’s (29-5) goal is to place top three at states.
“If I get at least third or higher I’ll be happy,” he said. “As long as I wrestle the way I know how I think I can do it.”
Senior Nate Rosenblatt took third in the 126-pound weight class.
“I did OK. I should have done better and not got pinned in the semis,” he said.
Rosenblatt pinned his first opponent. He got pinned in his second match. Rosenblatt earned a 9-3 win over High Point’s Christian Hernandez to advance to the third/fourth-place match. He pinned Elanor Roosevelt’s Ricky Bryant to finished in third place.
Rosenblatt (23-11) said he wants to place top six at states and he is looking forward to competing.
Freshman Robert Kaminski placed fourth in the 106-pound division to advance to states.
He shut out Huntingtown’s Aidan Dobbins 6-0 in the first round.
“I finally beat the Huntingtown kid that I lost to twice before so I was pretty happy with that,” he said.
He got pinned in the second round, but bounced back and pinned his opponent in the next match.
“I was pretty nervous until I beat [Parkdale’s Tariq Moore] in the consolation semis to make it to third/fourth-place match,” he said. “Once I beat that kid, I knew I was going to states so I was pretty relieved.”
Kaminski got pinned in the third/fourth-place match so he finished in fourth.
“I’m really excited for states, and as a freshman, I’ll have three more tries,” Kaminski (30-9) said. “I just want to place. I need to wrestle smart against some of these tougher opponents.”
Martinek said he would like to see the team place top eight at states.
“I think everyone will win a match or two,” he said.