Broadneck wrestling coach Reid Bloomfield cleaned out any final items in all his wrestlers’ lockers after the team left at the end of this season.
That’s when he found Liam DeBaugh’s 2020 second-place state finisher medal hanging up.
“He stared at that second-place medal every day,” Bloomfield recalled.
DeBaugh forgot the medal. One of his teammates gave it to him after finding it in the pocket of a wrestling jacket.
“I didn’t realize I was missing it,” DeBaugh said. “I looked at it every single day, laced up my shoes, put on my knee pads and headgear and just went out to practice every day and worked as hard as I could.”
DeBaugh left the medal there because he didn’t want it anymore.
Now, he had the medal he wanted. All of DeBaugh’s effort paid off. A more confident and polished DeBaugh won the Class 4A/3A state championship at 160 pounds on March 4 at the Show Place Arena at Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro. He cruised past Nelson Manzoeto of Montgomery Blair, 9-1, to finish with a sizzling 40-1 record.
DeBaugh, whose career started in the Central Maryland Wrestling youth program, edged his semifinal opponent, 3-2, and recorded a pin in a quarterfinal.
“All the dedication came to the forefront,” DeBaugh explained. “I had a lot more confidence and I didn’t get nervous at states. Last year, I went out there all nervous. I think my biggest strength was my mental approach. I was more confident in my skills and abilities.”
What makes DeBaugh’s state title even more impressive is the fact that he moved up five weight classes. He went 37-8 last year at 126 while winning regional and county championships.
“Liam was much more mature this year in how he approached things,” Bloomfield said. “His mat awareness was great, and he cleaned up his technique a lot. He was more coachable this year than in years past. He thought if he got bigger, he could be just as successful. He committed to the weight room and offseason workouts.”
Broadneck had two wrestlers who placed second: seniors Jake Chambers (182, 39-7) and Dax Avila (195, 40-2).
Both are second-year wrestlers and rapidly improved their skills.
“They came out as juniors and made the state finals as seniors,” Bloomfield said. “That’s amazing, and it’s one of the most proudest things in my time as a wrestling coach. They are two of the most coachable kids I’ve ever had. They worked the hardest and were practice partners.”
Chambers really pushed Atholton’s Ivan Carrillo (38-2) in the final, losing a 7-5 decision while Avila lost to Northeast’s Samire Brown (38-4) by the same score.
“I would take 100 Jake Chambers and Dax Avilas on my team,” Bloomfield said. “They are everything you want in a wrestler.”