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National champion stood tall on Retriever mats

07/02/2008 -

By Craig Clary..
Catonsville Times.......

Coaching Alex Broadwater was the easy part for older brother, Luke, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County wrestling coach.

Ever since Alex since started wrestling in the fourth grade, Luke has coached him.

Now, Luke will be coaching a national champion -- the first-ever in the history of the school's five-year-old club -- after Alex won the National Collegiate Wrestling Association tournament earlier this year in Lakeland, Fla.

The 2005 Catonsville High grad captured the 149-pound weight class title when he secured a takedown over Clay Goodloe of Newman (Kan.) University, with 30 seconds left in the first sudden death overtime.

"He shot in on me and it was kind of a weak attack," Alex said. "I just blocked it and did a re-shoot and took him down. He let his guard down because he was a little bit out of shape."

Being out of shape is something Alex won't ever be accused of after a match.

When he's not running, he works out with heavy weights six days a week during the summer. In season, circuit training dominates his training regimen.

Alex, who currently weighs around 180, admitted his stamina was tested during the season when he first dropped from 157 to 149 pounds.

After a match in the Apprentice School tournament, he was reeling.

"I felt like I was going to pass out," Broadwater said. "I felt like all my energy was gone and I was shaking."

He recovered and went on to win the tournament -- and earn a trophy for being named Champion of Champions.

Being a champion is familiar to Broadwater, who won county and regional titles in his senior year with the Comets.

The regional championship came with a price, though. His title came with a separated shoulder.

"I wrestled the whole match but after the match I lost my adrenaline and it started to kill me," he said.

After competing all the way to a state semifinal, the pain in the shoulder forced him default. It was his only setback after 31 straight victories.

His luck wasn't any better at Division-III Messiah College the following year when cracked rib cartilage and a skin disease curtailed his season early in the year.

He eventually transferred to UMBC to wrestle for his brother and major in music and business.

In his first season at UMBC, Alex and current UMBC assistant Mike Hornzell became the school's first All-Americans when they finished seventh and eighth, respectively, in the national tournament.

Team captain Alex says he enjoys wrestling for his brother.

"It's pretty easy working with him because I just do whatever he tells me to do," he said.

Sometimes if Luke has to work late, Alex runs practices.

"He's a good influence," Luke said. "Because he is so good, when other kids see Alex listening, they want to do that, too."

One of those teammates is Catonsville resident, Mount St. Joseph graduate Jason Lanciotti, who used to carpool with Broadwater to junior league practices.

"He's (Lanciotti) real dedicated," Alex said. "He's been training hard with me. I think he has a good shot to win it next year."

Broadwater first learned his signature move -- a headlock -- in the junior league.

"It's a left-handed headlock so that's what catches people off-guard," Broadwater said. "I started getting better and better at it, and I can hit it from standing, top or bottom."

The move was instrumental in three tournament championships and a 23-4 overall record.

Two losses came against Division I wrestlers from West Virginia University and Army. Another came against a Division-II foe from West Liberty University.

His only loss in NCWA competition was against Northhampton Community College's Ben Heist.

Still, Broadwater breezed to the finals in the 32-man bracket with two pins and two decisions.

The championship eased the pain of a season in which he endured ankle problems, rib injuries and a torn oblique muscle.

"Whenever he was feeling kind of hurt, I just sort of eased back just to make sure he was healthy at the end of the season," third-year coach Luke said.

The end brought a national championship ring to go along with his framed bracket sheet and first-place medal.

It also spurred the student-athlete with the 3.5 grade-point average to set high standards.

"I want to win another title and I don't want to lose any matches," he said. "I don't want anybody to take me down either."