The Bloomingdale High School boys’ wrestling team placed seventh overall and had four athletes place in the state championships with the leadership of their first-year head coach this spring.
Coach Mark Church took over after serving as an assistant with the Bulls’ team for five years. After the departure of their previous head coach at the beginning of the year, he knew he had to step up to preserve the wrestling team at Bloomingdale.
“I just felt like I couldn’t just leave [the athletes], so I stepped up as head coach this year,” said Church, who wrestled for Brandon High School when he was a student.
In his first year as head coach, Church coached around 30 boys and won district duels and the district championships. After the district championships, 10 wrestlers qualified to compete in the ‘Region of Doom,’ where the Bulls placed second overall.
Six of Church’s athletes advanced to states in Kissimmee at the beginning of March where Anthony Cubero placed sixth, Nathaniel Overman placed second, Jose Milord placed third and James Singer placed seventh. Overman narrowly lost in the state finals after a decisive 2-point call went against the Bulls’ senior to force them into overtime.
While the season officially started in December 2022, the preparation, Church emphasized, started long before. His athletes train throughout the summer and into the fall, working on fundamentals and conditioning to prepare them for each match.
“These kids work year-round, and it basically showed this year,” said Church. “I’m just big on basics and making sure they’re conditioned well to wrestle a complete match.”
Church and his team are also responsible for fundraising and other administrative behind-the-scenes functions. Church leaned on fellow faculty and parents to support him and allow him to focus purely on coaching his athletes on the mat.
Heading into the next season, Church is looking to recruit younger athletes, even appealing to middle schoolers to set them up for a wrestling career in high school.
“It’s a great sport,” he said about wrestling. “… It’s good personal growth, it teaches a lot of life lessons in a short amount of time.”
For more information on Bloomingdale’s wrestling team, contact Church at firstname.lastname@example.org.