|Teen of the Week: Spadaro, wrestles with
By WENDI WINTERS, For The Capital
Tucked back on Cattail Creek near the tail end of the Magothy
River is the Spadaro homestead.
Lewis P. Spadaro, 17, is knee deep, wading in the brackish water.
He can see the bottom very clearly. His feet, looking a little
green, are outlined against the dark creek bed.
"This is scary," Lewis said. "It's a
tremendous difference from when I was 5 years old. Now you can see
what you're stepping on. The change happened with the introduction
of the dark false mussel into the creek."
He noted: "We had a big bloom last year. They
grow in cycles. They really cleaned up the creek."
Lewis' interest in the river comes from his
His father, F. Paul Spadaro, a
cartographer for the Federal Aviation Administration, is the feisty
president of the Magothy River Association. An unpaid volunteer, he
wrestles daily with issues affecting life in and around the river
and its watershed. One of the biggest issues right now is the
landowner who built a palatial home on Little Island without
bothering to get permits.
has long been an active volunteer for MRA, when he wrestles, his
opponent is usually a teen who weighs the same as him.
A rising senior at Severna Park High School
with an overall 3.0 grade point average and a soft spot for
cheesecake and Cantonese orange chicken, Lewis will be captain of
the school's wrestling team for the second year in a row.
He participated in an open national
tournament, held in Virginia Beach June 25 to 29, and sponsored by
the National High School Coaches Association. Hundreds of kids of
all ages and weight classes, from 40 states, competed over four
Not surprisingly, Lewis achieved
All-American status. He placed eighth out of 47 competitors in the
171-pound freestyle weight category. "Only thetop eight get
All-American," Lewis said, explaining he's now recognized as one of
the top wrestlers in the country in his category. College scouts now
have his number.
Paul Joyce, head
wrestling coach at Severna Park High for seven years and an 11-year
veteran of the school said, "Making All-American is the culmination
of all his hard work this spring. He's competed in eight to 10
school tourneys and three national ones with Team Maryland."
Lewis, with a 25-7 record, is a two-time Anne
Arundel County champ in the 160-pound category and two-time state
"He's a very nice guy, admired
by kids in other sports at Severna Park High School," the coach
He's also been honored his junior
and sophomore years as "SPHS Outstanding Wrestler of the Year," and
has been acknowledged for "all-county" kudos in the The Capital,
The Sun and The Washington Post.
In postseason, he's captain of the Team
Maryland wrestling team. This summer he's working as a counselor at
a county youth wrestling camp run by Coach Joyce.
"I'm known for the switch," Lewis admitted.
"If I wind up on the bottom, I eventually wind up on top on time,
though it's only two points."
not to focus on what strategy puts him on top. "If you remember too
much, you get caught up in what you did, not what you can do."
Lewis is also a two-year member of the SPHS
varsity football team, playing on the defensive and offensive
He would like to wrestle in
college, though many wrestling programs have faded away, due to
colleges' needs to satisfy federal Title IX mandates to provide
equal sports opportunities to female students, he said. One college
he is considering is Kutztown University in Pennsylvania, which has
a respected wrestling program.
isn't his top priority in choosing a college. He's also looking for
one with a good computer science program. Lewis was drawn in by a
visual basics programming class at school and is looking forward to
an Advanced Placement computer science course this fall.
"He spends most of his free time on the
computer," sighed his mother, Sandy Spadaro. She works for the Naval
Academy Alumni Association as chapters editor of the alumni
Lewis has one
sibling, Nick, 15, who mirrors his big brother's features and
When he's not
studying new grips or programming languages, Lewis is outside on the
Magothy with his family, trying to make the river cleaner. He likes
tubing, wake boarding or riding in one of his family's three boats.
But he's just as likely to be planting bay grasses or casting reef
balls in concrete. When a ball is lowered into the river by
volunteer divers, oysters eagerly fasten themselves to it, kick
starting a new oyster reef.
"I've done a
lot of grunt work," Lewis laughed.
like a grunt, he's not afraid of putting in the effort to
The teen recalled he started
wrestling in sixth grade when a football coach suggested the
"My first year was terrible. I
sucked," he said bluntly. He didn't give up because, "I had had so
many bad soccer and football seasons, losing wasn't a foreign thing.
I did a lot better my second year and made the (Severna Park) Green
Hornets' A team.
"I've learned the
hardest part in any sport is to not let your opponent get into your
head, scoring points against you. Just because you're down doesn't
mean you can't come back, even though time is running out."
To nominate a Teen of the Week, contact Wendi
Winters at Teen@quantumstep.com; write to her c/o The Capital, P.O.
Box, 911, Annapolis, MD 21401; or fax to 410-280-5953.
Severna Park story
to The Capital
Published July 16, 2005, The Capital, Annapolis,
Copyright © 2005 The Capital, Annapolis,