It’s not the UFC, it’s not Showtime boxing and it’s definitely not WWE, but diehard combat sports fans await the start of the wrestling season every December. Whether at the high school, collegiate, or professional level, wrestling has been a lasting part of American culture for centuries, and the Severna Park area is no exception.
Broadneck and Severna Park started their seasons against each other, adding another chapter to the storied rivalry between the two schools. Historically, Severna Park wrestling has outpaced Broadneck in terms of county championships, winning five compared to Broadneck’s two championships. However, Broadneck came out on top when they faced off on December 5.
It was nearly a clean sweep for the Bruins as they defeated Severna Park by a 51-21 margin. Outside of three Broadneck forfeits, Severna Park’s only points came via a decision won by sophomore Michael Queen. It was an impressive way to start coach Reid Bloomfield’s sixth year as Broadneck’s wrestling coach, and one that he hopes will set the tone for a Bruins’ season as good as the last.
Last winter, Bloomfield’s Broadneck squad was wildly successful. Under his tutelage, the team went 30-4 and had three wrestlers on the Capital Gazette’s All-County first team at the end of the year. That group, which included Jake Chambers at 182 pounds and Dax Avila at 195, was highlighted by Liam DeBaugh, who won the state championship at 160 pounds en route to being named the Capital Gazette’s Wrestler of the Year.
All three of those wrestlers were part of a senior class that saw eight starters graduate, with DeBaugh wrestling at Frostburg State University and Chambers playing lacrosse at the Coast Guard Academy. Bloomfield understood that this was going to be a year of transition for the team, but he feels confident that the athletes he has right now can fill the gaps left by the class of 2023.
“(Losing athletes) is something that every coach deals with. We had a talented team last year with a lot of great athletes, but that is part of it. I try not to look too much in the past,” Bloomfield stated. “The seniors from last year passed the torch and created a lot of new leadership opportunities for our underclassmen, and so far, they have taken advantage of them.”
The team has had many standout performers to this point, such as Cam Williams at 132 pounds, Branden Whyte-Taylor at 120 and Austin Combs at 165. Combs, a senior who committed to Flagler University’s lacrosse program earlier in the year, transferred to Broadneck in the second semester of his junior year. It can often be difficult for athletes to adjust to a new environment, but coach Bloomfield has been impressed with how Combs has performed so far.
“Combs has been explosive for us,” Bloomfield stated. “He’s a great kid and is really fun to have in the room.”
The senior started the season 13-0, one of the few wrestlers on Broadneck’s team to not drop a single match through late December.
Through early January, the Bruins were 12-2 as a team, with a second-place finish at the Husky Duals Tournament at Patterson Mills High School. They went 6-2 at the tournament, but Broadneck has managed to go undefeated in their other matches, owning dominant wins over Severna Park, Meade, Kent Island, Arundel, North County and Glen Burnie.
“After losing eight starting seniors, I’ve been impressed by the level at which we have started,” Bloomfield said. “I had a feeling that this team would be really tough in February, but I didn’t expect this much success this early. That being said, we still have a long way to go.”
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