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2A Coach of the Year: Josh August

Stephen Decatur head coach Josh August took over the reigns of the state super-power when Todd Martinek stepped aside following the 2021-2022 season that resulted in a third straight Dual Meet State Championship.

Martinek is part of the coaching tree that began with Kevin Gilligan, who guided the Seahawks to a state dual title in 2008. August coached alongside Martinek for six years in addition to coaching the Junior Seahawks with Ryan Intrieri.

August’s ascension to the helm of the ship was seamless and he kept the winning ways going with a state title in his first year as the leader of the program.

August’s squad struggled with injuries throughout the 2023-2024 season but was able to rally and come together at the most important time of the year, as the Seahawks collected their fifth consecutive state crown and second in a row with August.

His guidance and handling of the lows have earned him the nod as one of Legacy Wrestling’s Coaches of the Year.

The uncertainty with what exactly the Seahawks were capable of this year showed up at the Bauerlein Duals in December, in which Decatur defeated No. 13 Northern Garrett, 43-33, but lost to No. 16 Manchester Valley, 41-29. Amidst this event we saw their ceiling and how injuries could possibly keep them from their utmost potential.

Mid-way through December Stephen Decatur defeated No. 23 Huntingtown, 52-25. Huntingtown has ties to Decatur as that is where Gilligan coached when he departed the Eastern Shore.

Before Gilligan’s arrival, the Hurricanes were an afterthought within the state hierarchy. Gilligan changed that and started a tradition that was kept alive by his brother Steven after his passing in 2018. While Steven was at the helm of the Huntingtown state dual meet championship season, the team was rooted in Kevin’s guidance.

Decatur has become a mainstay at C. Milton Wright’s Iron Horse Duals. A dual tournament that has morphed into a showcase for quite a few of the state’s top teams, both private and public. Iron Horse took place the first week after Christmas Break.

The Seahawks suffered a few losses there last year, but on this occasion, they finished as the Top Dog, taking out private school powers, No. 3 Loyola Blakefield (38-36) and No. 6 Archbishop Spalding (44-27). In the pool rounds, Decatur hung losses on No. 19 Leonardtown (43-30) and No. 20 Kent Island (60-18). The Seahawks also beat Delaware Division I dual meet state runners-up, Cape Henlopen, 40-21.

Kevin Gilligan started the War on the Shore, which Martinek has turned into the toughest bracketed tournament in the state of Maryland. Like Iron Horse, the War is loaded with a lot of the state’s top teams.

After the strong showing at Iron Horse, Decatur would have loved to build on that momentum, but injuries and illnesses depleted the Seahawks and they were missing five of their state ranked wrestlers for this affair, which doomed them to struggle in the team race before the first whistle was blown.

Predictably, they tumbled down the standings, finishing in tenth. Xavier of Connecticut won the team crown, with No. 1 and No. 2 at the time, Mt. St. Joseph and St. Mary’s Ryken finishing second and third. Loyola was fifth.

The next challenge for Decatur came in the middle of January with Bayside squad Parkside, who is ranked 28th in the state. That resulted in a 47-23 win.

Coaches (from left to right): Jay Riehl, Vinny Caimi, Ryan Intrieri, Don Parana, Josh August, Todd Martinek, and Justin Manganiello

A week later, they would run it back with Rising Sun, strutting out a full-strength squad that secured the dual meet region title with a win at 175 from Parker Intrieri over Zach Garvin that gave the Seahawks an insurmountable lead, 34-9. They forfeited the remaining four matches to win 34-33. But make no mistake, a statement was made. In the region semis, they beat Kent Island for a third time, 48-30.

Another trip to the state duals awaited the Berlin Boys that weekend and they kept their tradition of winning state championships going with little drama, throttling Huntingtown in the opener, 51-15, then putting a beat down on No. 15 Damascus in the finals, 50-22. Nine Seahawks qualified for the 2A/1A state tournament. Three of them reached the finals, No. 4 Juan Hinojosa (106), No. 2 Elijah Collick (113), and No. 3 Gavin Solito (157). Collick and Solito captured state crowns. For Collick, a sophomore, it was his second in two trips. Solito, a senior, reached the top of the podium after coming in second in his previous two appearances.

No. 13 Kole Kohut was fourth at 190lbs. No. 22 Amarian Manuel (150) and No. 25 Nate McDaniel (215) reached the blood round. No. 15 Parker Intrieri was the victim of difficult draws at 165 and fell two matches short of the podium.

The pride of the Eastern Shore finished the year as the highest ranked public-school team, sitting in the No. 5 position of Legacy Wrestling’s Team Rankings. They are behind a Loyola team they beat, because that was by two points when Loyola was missing wrestlers from their lineup. Like Decatur, Loyola got it together at the end and finished ahead of St. Joe at the Private School state tournament.

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