Chances are that by now you know the name Julien Broderson. Just over two months ago the Davenport Assumption standout won his second straight title in Class 2A by defeating Southeast Valley’s Kyler Fisher by fall in the finals. One of the state of Iowa’s most dominant wrestlers this past season, Broderson capped off his season with a perfect 36-0 record and finished the state as one of the tournament’s top ten highest scoring individuals.
But it wasn’t always this way. Even though he is now one of 2A’s top wrestlers and considered a top upperweight prospect by multiple Division I programs, Broderson wasn’t always wrecking his competition. In fact, he fell short of qualifying for the state tournament his freshman year – placing third at districts. Which may very well be the first turning point in the young wrestler’s career.
“How I wrestled today really proved how much you can improve in one year.” Broderson said in an interview moments after winning his first state title in 2017, “Last year I was third at districts and didn’t even qualify for state this year I came back and won state.”
Over the last two years we have seen Broderson’s career take off like a rocket. In addition to not qualifying for state as a freshman, Broderson actually didn’t appear in IAwrestle’s final set of rankings back in 2016, which came out just prior to the postseason. Then he flipped a switch and seemingly became a different wrestler. He credits that “switch” to summer wrestling and by competing with confidence.
“Winning state my sophomore year definitely boosted my confidence, but I’ve always wrestled confident.” Broderson said in an interview with IAwrestle, “I don’t see a point in wrestling if you aren’t going to give your all so when I wrestle I give it my all and have all of the confidence to get me to where I need to be.”
Fans in Iowa got to see that confidence in full display over the last year. Prior to winning state as a sophomore Broderson entered the postseason as IAwrestle’s #3 ranked wrestler at 160 pounds. Despite being the underdog he delivered his first state title by beating the #4 ranked wrestler in the semifinals and #2 ranked wrestler in the finals. Now the Assumption wrestler is considered one of the top 100 wrestlers in the class of 2019.
Broderson’s success was not contained to the state of Iowa. Shortly after he won his first state title he was selected to be a member of Team Iowa Black – Iowa’s elite team that competes at the nationally famous Disney Duals in Florida – where he compiled a 7-2 record with his team placing seventh. He then added All-American honors to his resume, finishing fourth at USA Wrestling’s Cadet Greco-Roman nationals held in Fargo, North Dakota.
All of that success, the state title combined with the outstanding summer, established Broderson a top guy. When IAwrestle released preseason rankings last November there was no doubt that there would be a “#1” next to his name. Part of being on top of the hill is that all of your opponents will come for your spot. A challenge Broderson was more than happy to embrace.
“I wrestled better with a target on my back. I love being able to wrestle, and everybody wanted to be the guy to take me out so they always gave their all too which made wrestling more exciting.”
It’s that level of competition that Broderson has thrived on for more than the past year. Every wrestler in the state of Iowa went out and gave him their best match hoping to be the one to dethrone the champ. It’s also the reason that despite being on Assumption’s baseball team, Broderson still carries a full wrestling workload in the summer. There is no better opportunity to get that constant high level of competition than by wrestling at events like the Disney Duals or Fargo.
“I love getting the best matches possible. I strongly believe that you either win or you learn. Many matches in my life have not gone my way, and those are the matches that I have learned the most from.”
Even though last summer was a breakout year for Broderson, there is still room for improvement. Unless you are standing on top of the podium there is always room to go up. Last summer was the first time we saw Broderson consistently be in high level matches against strong competition. This summer we will see if he is able to grow from those losses and take with him the lessons learned from them.
“I am doing a little more Freestyle and Greco this summer. I’m competing at Fargo as well as Virginia Beach duals. I am going to be training with my coach Tristen DeShazer and Pete Bush to get me a stop sign this year.
“A huge lesson I learned last summer was to wrestle through every position. In freestyle and Greco it is so important to wrestle throughout every position because once you stop that’s when you’re going to get taken down or turned.”
With a busy summer on tap Broderson will try to continue to go out and seek the nation’s top competition, while at the same time hopefully boosting his stock as a college prospect. He has already been contacted by a number of programs following his breakout year and if he is able to follow that up with an equally (if not better) performance this summer we could see an increase in that interest.
Currently Broderson has been in regular contact with six different schools across the country, but another big tournament out in Fargo can change all of that.
“Definitely since my sophomore year and especially Fargo I have been contacted more by college coaches. I believe Fargo is the biggest tournament of the entire year because it shows how a wrestler can transition into a completely different style of wrestling in just a few months. I do not have a time frame of when I’m going to be committing. I still believe I’ll be having more schools contacting me after Fargo this year so I guess we’ll just have to see.”
Broderson is weighing offers from Iowa State, Iowa, UNI, Campbell, Air Force, and South Dakota State with potentially more on the horizon after a summer where many expect the Assumption star to return to the podium in Fargo and bring home more hardware for the state of Iowa.