Scenes of celebration abounded at Annapolis High School on February 22 as a pair of Severna Park wrestlers received congratulations from coaches, teammates, friends and families after winning individual county championships.
Carson Gottimer and Ty Broadway both emerged from the county’s annual two-day tournament as champions in their weight classes, with Gottimer blazing his way to the top of the 182-lbs bracket and Broadway dominating the competition en route to the 220-lbs championship.
The tournament was a broad success for the Falcons, who advanced a total of six wrestlers to the regional tournaments. Jack Chadwick (132 lbs), Bohdan Andrulis (152), Caleb Robinson (195) and Patrick Ellis (heavyweight) all finished fourth in their weight classes to earn automatic qualification for regionals.
Severna Park coach Trevor Bryden was proud to see the Falcons capitalize on the opportunity to move on to regions while also producing two county champs.
“As happy as we are for Carson and Ty, we get another week of everyone coming to practice and working hard and grinding, and we’re really happy for them,” Bryden said.
Gottimer’s chance at a county crown came after he won matches against Old Mill’s Tristen Cole and North County’s Greg Deavers, setting up the final against Arundel’s Clint Mills. Gottimer took immediate control of the bout, taking down Mills early in the first round for a 2-0 lead. Starting in down position in the second round, Gottimer rolled for an escape, then shot for a takedown and a 5-0 lead. A reversal, escape and a takedown built his lead, and he won comfortably with a 9-2 decision to improve to 23-6 on the year.
Gottimer, a junior, didn’t wrestle at counties last year, and by his own admission, wasn’t up to the challenge.
“I honestly wasn’t good enough,” Gottimer said. “I was a punching bag in varsity practice. I started winning this year and realized how much more fun winning is than losing, so I just kept going.”
He said he received a wakeup call as a freshman, realizing he was out of shape and lacking strength, and that he had to set goals and pursue them every day.
“Freshman year, I was fat,” Gottimer said. “We have a board in the gym with the names of all county, regional and state champs, and I wanted to see my name on that board every time I walk in. I just started working out every day for two years.”
Bryden credited Gottimer with transforming his body, adding strength and working hard to get to where he is.
“He deserves all the credit, he really does, because he works hard,” Bryden said. “He’s come a long way since his freshman year, and that doesn’t come along just by normal, ordinary stuff. He works hard in the offseason, he runs and he lifts, he’s obviously much bigger and stronger than he was as a freshman, and he deserves it.”
Broadway took a more direct approach to this year’s county title, to much fanfare. The Severna Park junior is now a staggering 36-0 on the season and is the only wrestler in the county who hasn’t lost a match.
Broadway got to the final after two wins in the tournament, winning by tech fall over Alex Ditto of Annapolis, then pinning Arundel’s Amir Connell.
In the final against Southern’s Jojo Herring, Broadway deployed his fearsome combination of strength, athleticism and technique to stack up points early and often. He repeatedly took Herring down in the first two rounds, almost pinning Herring at the end of the first round before Herring admirably fought to the buzzer. In the second round, Herring thought he had Broadway in a hold, but Broadway did a front flip escape out of it, springing off his head and onto his feet, drawing oohs and ahs from the crowd. He led Herring 16-5 late in the third round when he put Herring on his back and ended the match.
Broadway said he’s relied on movement this year to keep his opponents guessing, and no one has yet cracked the code.
“I just set up with motion,” Broadway said. “Coach wants me to just continue doing motion, and then all else just kicks in. If you keep doing motion, he’s not going to know where you’re at.”
He said that a county championship is a welcome steppingstone on the path to his goal.
“I’m just thinking about the next matchup at regionals,” Broadway said. “I just really want regionals, I want states. I was county champion last year. I love that part of it. I love all of it. I’m looking for states. I’m going to states, one match at a time.”
Asked to put Broadway’s undefeated season in context, Bryden said Broadway has indeed been unbeatable, but he hasn’t allowed his success to undermine his goals.
“He has been dominant,” Bryden said. “We want to keep him in check, and I think he does a nice job of that. He realizes that he’s faced some good competition, and there are good kids in the county, but there’s some good competition in front of us. He’s wrestled some tough kids, and he knows what’s waiting at regionals and states and that he has to continue to work hard and elevate. As well as he’s done and as good as he’s wrestled, he’s not satisfied.”
Bryden said the Falcons, who enjoyed a huge crowd of friends and families at Annapolis to support the team on Friday and through the finals on Saturday, have benefitted from an improved culture of accountability and work ethic in the wrestling room.
He credited the program’s county champs with leading by their actions.
“Ty and Carson, these guys come in, they work hard, and they make their teammates work harder,” Bryden said. “They don’t let other guys get away with stuff. They’re leaders in the wrestling room, they push other guys hard, and they want us to push them hard as a coaching staff. They don’t want an easy day. They don’t want an easy practice. They want us pushing the pace. They want to be challenged in that way. They just naturally crave that challenge, that pressure. They want to be drained and dead at the end of practice, and then they want to wake up and do it all over again, and those are the guys you want on the team who are going to work hard and have success.”