It’s Hard to Pin Down Chesapeake Bay Wrestling

By Sandra Zunino

Chesapeake Bay Wrestling (CBW) launches the second year of their Kent Island youth wrestling program. What some consider the “world’s oldest sport;” wrestling is a very physical, emotional and demanding activity.

“Our prehistoric ancestors started the sport,” explains CBW Head Coach, Rusty Smith. “It carried on and evolved into the competitive and collegiate sport it is today.”

CBW’s goal is to develop kids into self-disciplined, well-rounded athletes who can go on to participate in the high school and collegiate levels. The program was developed under the Chesapeake Bay Football and Cheerleading organization to provide a competitive league team for youths interested in wrestling.

Prior to that, Kent Island kids traveled to Annapolis three times a week for training. Now CBW has youths from Annapolis, Easton, Centreville and Queenstown to wrestle in this program. While there are some wrestling clubs in the area, CBW is the only structured team competing in the AACO Wrestling League.

A highly competitive sport, participants must place in the top six of their weight class in order to go on to the MD/VA State tournament – what Rusty describes as “the Super Bowl of wrestling.”

In order to wrestle in the MD/VA States at the end of the year, competitors must wrestle for a team that competes in one of the three major leagues in Maryland: the Capital Area Wrestling League, the Maryland Junior Wrestling League, or the Anne Arundel County Wrestling League.

Competitors wrestle with someone of the same weight class regardless of age. The goal is to use the opponent’s weight and position against him. In a match, there are typically three one-and-a-half-minute periods. The first starts with both opponents in the “standing neutral” position.

Periods two and three could either take the “down” position, the “top” position or the “neutral” position. One scores points by escaping from the bottom, reversing from the bottom, or the top competitor turning the bottom competitor over to his back for a period of time, called a “pin”. A pin is defined as a competitors two shoulder blades touching the mat for two seconds. A pin and ends the match with the pinning opponent as the winner.

While strength and flexibility develop from the sport itself, finesse – a mixture of geometry, angular movement, mechanics and weight distribution – is more important for winning. “Just like anything else in life, you capitalize on your opponents mistakes,” explains Rusty.

Youths on the CBW team benefit from about 100 years of combined wrestling experience through the program’s coaches. In addition to Rusty are Tim Goodrich, Vance Stone, Steve Ditmar, Shawn Miller, Steve Olauson, Greg Domogauer, Terry Carroll and Dave Harrison to provide training and a high coach-to-athlete ratio.

“We have some talent on the mat,” says Rusty, who has 19 years of wrestling experience himself, seven as a coach. “Our coaches have wrestled in Europe and D-1 colleges, providing these kids with the benefit of well-rounded experience.”

CBW is extending their registration an additional week. To join the program, interested students need only attend one of the practices, which take place Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at the Kent Island High School Auxiliary Gym from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The program is open to boys and girls from ages 4-14.

For more information about CBW, call Rusty at 443-496-0701 or visit