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Saints coach Martin to face former team at Rebel

January 19, 2007|by ANDREW MASON

St. James wrestling coach Chuck Martin said the Potomac River runs through his veins.

"I've been a river rat my entire life," he said. "I'm a Williamsporter. I said I'd never coach anywhere else. Nothing against any other schools, but I did make that statement once."

Martin, whose 13-year tenure as Williamsport coach ended against his will in 2003, will coach against Williamsport for the first time tonight at South Hagerstown during the 26th annual Rebel Invitational - a two-day, 10-team, three-mat, dual-meet tournament.

The Saints (11-10) and Wildcats (5-5) are set to square off at 8 p.m. in the third of tonight's opening five rounds. There will be six more rounds Saturday.

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"I think we'll match up well. We're definitely going to be pumped up for it," said Martin, in his first season with St. James. "Any time you compete against one of your former teams, you want to do well. I think it will be interesting."

Under Martin, Williamsport went 115-58-1 in dual meets and was the champion of Washington County five times, the MVAL three times and the Maryland 2A-1A West region once.

But after the 2002-03 season, Martin's then-assistant coach, Mike Rechtorovic, was given his head-coaching job by Williamsport principal John Davidson. Rechtorovic is still in charge of the Wildcats.

"I was sort of bitter," Martin said. "I didn't want my coaching career to end the way it did. I thought it was very unfair. But you have to put it behind you and move forward.

"I'm just glad to be back into it. I love to coach wrestling and, so far, St. James has been a good fit."

When he arrived at St. James, he only asked for one thing.

"My only request this year was to get us into the Rebel Invitational," said Martin, who has more on his mind than just Williamsport.

"I think we'll be pretty competitive against everybody," he said. "We're going into this tournament to win it. We've got a shot."

The other teams are: Boonsboro, James Buchanan, Martinsburg, Handley, Westminster, Bowling Brook, Broad Run and host South.

Each team will wrestle every other team once over the two days. Action begins at 5 p.m. today and 9 a.m. Saturday.

Notes: Former South coach Ernie Walters, who founded the Rebel Invitational in 1982, will be honored in a special ceremony before Saturday's final round. ... North Hagerstown will try to extend its win streak over rival South to 15 straight years when the Hubs host the Rebels this Wednesday evening. ... Smithsburg (8-1, 3-0) is in the driver's seat in the MVAL Antietam as the only team without a conference loss. The Leopards, Antietam champs two years ago, still have to face Boonsboro, Williamsport and Catoctin, all on the road. ... Jefferson's Colton Gustines (112 pounds), Smithsburg's Justin Hovermale (152) and Mercersburg Academy's Adam Barnette (285) are the only area wrestlers still unbeaten this season.

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