Dynamic dynasties: Broomfield wrestling emerges as state power

Eagles won four Class 4A titles between 2009-2014

Daily Camera file photo
Broomfield’s Drew Romero works for a win during the first round of the 2013 state wrestling tournament in Denver.

Immense pride and sense of responsibility accompany the opportunity to wrestle for the well-respected program at Broomfield High School.

The reasons for that stem largely from a standard previous Eagles teams established during a dynastic run from 2009 to 2014 during which Broomfield wrestling stood atop the pinnacle of Class 4A in Colorado. In that six-year span, the Eagles claimed four state championships in 2009, 2010, 2013 and 2014.

Zach Stodden, a two-time individual champion (2013 and 2014) who arrived at Broomfield as a freshman in 2011, believes the culture was the key to the program’s dominance.

“When we stepped on the scene as freshmen, we had already won two state titles,” Stodden said. “The expectation was obviously to keep that going. Our program also faced a lot of adversity and we just stayed focused on us and keeping the tradition alive. We were a family-oriented environment and we focused on the journey and building each other up. That’s what got us to the destination, which was winning state titles.”

Unlike most prep dynasties, which are often remembered by a single coach who was the face of the program, Broomfield had several during its run. In fact, the Eagles had a different coach for each of the state titles it won from 2009-14.

Travis Masse was head coach in 2009. Mark Schmidt, who returned to coach Broomfield after Masse was dismissed because of legal issues, guided the Eagles on their championship run in 2010. The Eagles were runners-up in 2011 and placed fourth in 2012 before they reclaimed the 4A crown under Joe Pereira in 2013. Then with Pat DeCamillis leading the way in 2014, Broomfield pulled its second title defense in six years.

Jeremy Papasso / Daily Camera
Broomfield’s Phil Downing celebrates after becoming the 17th wrestler in state history to win four state titles.

The championship era of Broomfield wrestling is more often remembered for producing four-time state champion Phil Downing, one of only 28 wrestlers in Colorado preps history to win four titles. The run also produced other wrestlers who won multiple state championships like Stodden and fellow two-timers Drew Romero and David Maroney. Others like Courtland Hacker and Gabe Gomez won a single state title but also placed at national level tournaments.

More than the stewardship of any coach, DeCamillis said the Eagles’ run was primarily fueled by young wrestlers following the examples set their predecessors.

“I think that program was built for success like that,” said DeCamillis, currently the Silver Creek athletic director. “I think that in 2014 when I took the job, they had a lot of great wrestlers. I just had to try not to screw things up. The kids that were in place were incredibly talented. Instead of the coaches, it was the kids who sustained the success and carried on the dynasty with their leadership.”

Consistently being blessed with talent in the wrestling room is obviously a key component to any run of championship contention. Another, according to Schmidt, is never being satisfied with where you are even if you’re already the best.

Throughout its run, Broomfield wrestling not only won four state championships but traveled near and far to face the best competition. That meant competing at elite national tournaments like Ironman and Doc Buchanan.

Sometimes the Eagles would have to stamp their passports in order to sharpen their skills against the very best they could find.

“We competed all over the country and all over the world,” Schmidt said. “We sought out the toughest high school tournaments and we’d go compete overseas in the summertime. So when we got to state, our guys were ready to rock. They weren’t afraid of anything.”

Schmidt, who led Centaurus to four state titles before coming to Broomfield, remembers that the program hit a turning point in 2000 that changed it from an average team to a title contender. From there, the standard continued to rise until the Eagles started winning championships.

The Eagles moved up to 5A in 2015 and improved their finish at state each year until they placed fourth in 2018. Moving back down to 4A in 2019, they have finished fourth and then third in the past two seasons.

Daily Camera file photo
Broomfield’s Zach Stodden, left wrestle’s Air Academy’s Caleb Cuneio during their 170-pound semifinal match at the state tournament on Friday at the Pepsi Center in Denver.


Details of the Dynasty: Broomfield wrestling

Coaches: Travis Masse (2009), Mark Schmidt (2010), Joe Pereira (2013), Pat DeCamillis (2014).

Dynasty years: Between 2009 and 2014, under four different head coaches, the Eagles won four state titles in Class 4A and never placed lower than fourth at the state championships. They finished runners-up in 2011. The Eagles moved up to 5A following that run and placed fourth at state in 2018. In the past two seasons since moving back to 4A, Broomfield has finished fourth and third.

Major wrestlers: Phil Downing (four-time state champion), Gabe Gomez (three-time finalist and won one, two-time Ironman placer), Courtland Hacker (three-time state finalist and won once, two-time Ironman placer), David Maroney (two-time state champion, two-time Ironman placer), Drew Romero (two-time state champion), Zach Stodden (two-time state champion).

Most dominant moment: The Eagles’ most dominant title was arguably their first. In 2009, Broomfield claimed the 4A gold with nine overall placers including one champion and five runners-up to outpace the next closest team (Northridge) by an incredible 71.5 points.