Bring on boot camp: Bloom blossoms under pressure Key wrestler takes tough road

February 28, 1993|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Staff Writer

No one around Francis Scott Key High was surprised last July when the school's star three-sport athlete, Dale Bloom, enlisted in the Marines under a delayed-entry program.

The Key senior will report to Paris Island June 28 for 11 1/2 weeks of Marine boot camp.

Bloom loves action, fears nothing, lives for a challenge and always chooses the toughest road in anything.

In sports, he thrives on the dirty work and the less glamorous positions.

From day one in Little League baseball, Bloom was a catcher, and he still catches for the Eagles' baseball team.

In the winter, he chose wrestling over basketball, and in the fall he toiled as a linebacker on the football team.

One night last fall, Bloom played so hard in a home football game against Smithsburg that he became dehydrated and had to be checked out at Carroll County Hospital.

"Dale's not one to back off a challenge," said Key wrestling coach Bill Hyson, who is also the school's assistant football coach. "He wanted to win so badly for the Key fans that night against Smithsburg that he just wore himself out."

Bloom went on to make the All-Carroll County first team as a linebacker, is the county's 189-pound wrestling champion with a 19-7 record, and will be throwing out runners as a catcher this spring for the Eagles.

Those kind of achievements have attracted the attention of at least one college.

"I got a letter from West Virginia Wesleyan, wanting me to play football for them," said Bloom. "But the only way I could go there is on a full scholarship. They're a Division II school and couldn't offer me a full scholarship."

Bloom said the Marines will pay 75 percent of his college education and give him an opportunity to get a degree in engineering.

"They offered me what I wanted," he said. "I was picking the military from the start, but I just didn't know which branch I'd choose."

After four years of high school wrestling, football and baseball, Bloom doesn't see any problems with making it through boot camp.

"I had a couple of friends come back and tell me it's not that bad if you stick it out. It's mostly a mental thing and I'm used to that in wrestling," he said.

It's tough youngsters like Bloom who have allowed a small class 1A school like Key to be ranked fifth in wrestling in the metropolitan area. The Eagles have only 750 students in grades nine through 12.

Class 4A schools have more than 2,000 students in those grades.

Hyson said Bloom has made it big as a wrestler because "he has tremendous strength and has a knack for coming out of tough situations. He makes up for what he lacks in experience with determination."

Although he is the county 189 champ, Bloom is disappointed that the Eagles weren't able to knock off longtime power North Carroll this season in either their dual meet or in the county tournament.

The Panthers outscored Key, 169-161, last weekend to win the county tournament at Liberty.

Bloom and Hyson have replayed the tough dual-match loss to the Panthers, 31-24, time after time.

It was Bloom who dominated North Carroll's Chris Boog in the first period before suddenly getting pinned in the second period of their 189-pound bout.

"I knew the match was on me," said Bloom, who had Boog on his back moments before the pin.

"I said to myself I could beat him and I wrestled him real good in the first period. But when I turned him I had my hips too high and he was able to turn me for the pin."

After the Class 2A-1A, Region I regionals come the state tournament, and Bloom is still hopeful of getting over the hump against No. 2 North Carroll.

"Coach Hyson told us the season isn't over yet," said Bloom. "Tournaments are a lot different from dual matches. A lot of things can happen."

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