Dundalk Eagle High School Athletes of the Season: Winter 2013
Wednesday, 13 March 2013 11:35

Alfred Martinez, DHS wrestling

County, regional champ set seven Dundalk records

by Bill Gates

    Alfred Martinez came to Dundalk High as a wrestling rookie in a sport where the best athletes are hitting a mat not long after they have learned to walk without hitting the floor.
    Martinez completed his Owl wrestling career as one of the most successful wrestlers in school history.
    The Eagle’s Male Athlete of the Season for the Winter, Martinez has left his name on seven Dundalk wrestling records.
    His career record of 119-40 set the school record for wins and exceeded the old record by eight wins.
    Martinez also set Owl career marks with 67 pins, 73 escapes and 629 team points (scored in tournaments).
    He also has the school single-season record for wins (39), pins (22) and tournament points (207).
    Again, this was a guy who never set foot on a wrestling mat until high school.
    The majority of elite high school wrestlers started the sport in junior league programs while in elementary school.
    “It’s very unusual for a kid to start wrestling in high school and be this successful, since it takes years of practice to master the moves,” Dundalk wrestling coach Chad Goodnight said. “Most of the kids you see placing at states have, at least, some junior league background or wrestle year-round.”
    Martinez works on wrestling in the off-season since reaching high school, but also plays lacrosse and badminton for the Owls.
    He had a 38-5 record this season, with two losses coming in the Class 1A/2A state wrestling tournament.
    He went on to finish sixth in the state to become the first Owl (along with 285-pounder Wayne Maddox) to earn a spot on the awards podium since 2001.
    “For Alfred to come in and not only do well, but set school records too, is amazing to me,” Goodnight said. “He is one of the hardest-working kids I’ve ever met.”
    Martinez won the Baltimore County title at 126 pounds, only the second county championship by an Owl wrestler since 1997.
    A powerful wrestler who is good on his feet, Martinez excelled at getting the first takedown on opponents and putting them on their backs.
    His strenghs, according to Goodnight, are his qiuckness, scrambling ability, determination to finish “and a mat sense that can’t be taught.”
    He finished second at the SnOverlea Invitational and third at the Franklin Invitational.
    Wrestling Daniel Velez of Aberdeen in the semifinals, Martinez was trailing 7-2 in the second period when he caught and pinned Velez, who would go on to finish fourth at the Class 3A/4A state championships.
    Martinez lost in the finals at the SnOverlea Invitational to defending state champion Tejon Anthony of Western Tech, who usually wrestles at 132 pounds.
    Martinez went undefeated at the Dundalk Duals Invitational and was named the Outstanding Wrestler in his weight class.
    He also defeated Sparrows Point’s county and regional champion Randy Watson during a dual match.
    Martinez has been accepted to West Virginia Tech and has been talking to the coaches about joining the wrestling team and earning a scholarship.
    Watson, who finished sixth in the state along with his county and regional titles and a 33-6 record, was also considered for the Eagle’s Athlete of the Season.






Kaitlin Isabell, SPHS indoor track

Regional high jump champion, fourth in state

by Bill Gates

    No one jumped higher than Sparrows Point high jumper Kaitlin Isabell during the three main indoor track championship meets.
    Not at the Baltimore County championships, where The Eagle’s Female Athlete of the Season was one of three girls to clear 4-feet-10; not at the Class 1A Central region championships, where she was the only competitor to clear 4-feet-8; and not at the Class 1A Maryland state championship meet, where  she was one of four to clear 4-feet-8.
    Due to number of tries it took to clear the height, Isabell only won the regional title while finishing  third in the county championships and fourth at the state meet.
    (When two or more athletes finish at the same height in the high jump, the winner is determined by which jumper had the fewest number of misses during the competition.)
    Isabell, a junior, missed twice on earlier heights at the state championship meet, and twice at 4-feet-8 before successfully making the height at the Baltimore County meet.
    “It’s a little frustrating,” she said. “Everyone makes mistakes, and I’m one of those people.
    “But it leaves me room for improvement, and motivates me to do better.”
    And, yes, Isabell is aware that had she cleared 4-feet-10 at the state meet, like she had at the county meet, then she would be the Class 1A state high jump champion today, the first individual state track champion from Dundalk-Edgemere in over 20 years.
    File that under “motivation” for her.
    “I was expecting to win the regional title, as everyone else was two inches under my personal best,” Isabell said. “At the state meet, I was so nervous, my heart was pounding and I missed my first jump.”
    Isabell doesn’t just have motivation; she has potential.
    Her aforementioned “room for improvement” is vast, considering this is only the second year she’s been a high jumper.
    Isabell started jumping during her sophomore indoor track season.
    Sparrows Point indoor track coach Geoff Holland had everyone on the team try out as high jumpers.
    “Afterwards, [Holland] wanted me to keep working at it,” Isabell said.
    Her best height during her sophomore year was 4-feet-6, and she finished seventh in the state, second in the Class 1A Central region and seventh in Baltimore County.
    This year, Isabell is doing what she didn’t do during her sophomore: jumping for the track and field squad instead of playing tennis.
    “I love tennis, but I’m  doing track and field due to my high jump success,” Isabell said. “My technique has gotten a lot better with coaching, practice and dedication, but I still need to work on it.”
    Her technique has come a long way already; she really didn’t have a technique when she first started high jumping —“I just kind of got over the bar,” she noted.
    Isabell’s immediate goal is to clear five feet during a competition. She’s made that height in practice.
    After that, she wants to “jump my height” — 5-feet-2 (which makes her  rather short among female high jumpers).
    Isabell, who plays soccer for two-time defending regional champion Sparrows Point in the fall, would like to be a college high-jumper.
    “I’m going to start e-mailing college coaches, see what height they want me at,” she said.
    Also considered for Athlete of the Season was Sparrows Point junior basketball player Korie Pender.