B ruce   Gabrielson

Some Wrestling History

Bruce Gabrielson - A member of the Southern Maryland Wrestling Club Hall-of-Fame, Bruce Gabrielson hails from a long time Oregon wresting family. Bruce wrestled his successful high school years at Madison HS under legendary eventual Washington State Coach Jim Smith in the early 1960s, before obtaining a wrestling scholarship and moving on to a highly successful college career (66-6) at California State University Long Beach under coaches Warren Boring and Dale Deffner. During his college career he was ranked as high as first among California collegiate wrestlers at his weight.

Bruce served as Asst. Coach under John Wadas while in graduate school at Long Beach as he prepared for the 1968 and 1972 GR Olympic Trials. He was also one of the coaches for the Costa Mesa Athletic Association freestyle team during the late 60s and early 70s, and was the Coach and Captain of the US Army Team at Ft Ord while serving in 1969. He also helped coach US Air Force National Team members stationed at Norton AFB in the mid to late 70s.

Coach G, as he was called by his club members, moved to Maryland in the early 1980's and started coaching junior league teams where his sons were wrestling. His teams were very successful. During the 1980's he also founded Southern Maryland Wrestling Club, serving as its Head Coach until 2000, then again for a short period from 2003-2004. SMWC won 28 AAU Grand National Team titles plus numerous regional and state titles under Bruce's guidance.

Bruce was active with a number of high school programs over the years including Huntington Beach HS, Fountain Valley HS, Calvert HS, the Suitland HS Rams during their undefeated 1990/91 season, and for DeMatha HS during the 1993/94 season. He left high school coaching in 1994 because of state rules which prevent organized off season coaching, but continued for many years to help local high school teams with clinics and special sessions when he had time.

A USAW Copper level coach, Bruce coached folkstyle youth league teams during the winter months, and was one of Maryland's USAW National Team coaches each spring season. In 1999 and 2000 his youth league team won the CAWL League Championships and finished with the MD/VA Beltway team championship in 2000 when he initially retired as a youth level head coach. He was the Head Coach of Maryland's Potomac Valley All-Star Challenge Cup Team for 16 years, the Maryland Head Coach of the MD/VA Senior All-Star Match Team for three years, and the Head Coach of Maryland's AAU Junior Olympic Multi-Sport Team several years.

Besides coaching, Bruce supported wrestling in many other capacities. During each summer and early fall he presented clinics or ran sessions at local and regional camps, including Ken Chertow's Camp of Champions. He was an active AAU Level I Official and a Level I AAU Pairer, plus an active Level II USAW Official. Bruce was also a newspaper sports editor for wrestling and contributed as a State Editor for WUSA Magazine, as well as having written over 60 wrestling articles for various publications since 1970. Additionally, he founded the SMWC Web Site, the first site on the Internet devoted to wrestling.

As a competitor, he won several age group regional and national titles in freestyle, folkstyle, Greco-Roman, and SOMBO over the years, retiring from regular active competitions after a sholder injury in 1997. Among his last competitions, in 1994 he won the 180.5 lb class at the FIAS World Masters SOMBO Championship and placed 3rd in a large overall pool at the AAU National Greco-Roman Masters in 1996. In 1997 he placed 3rd in the Masters pool at the AAU SOMBO Nationals.

Related to SOMBO, Bruce first got involved with the sport in the early 1970s as both a competitor and coach, plus as a judo participant. He eventually coached Kutsugi Nerio, a high school state wrestling champ, national Judo champ and one of the first US Sombo Champions. Bruce continued coaching both Sombo and Judo during the off-season for wrestling until 1998, and was one of the coaches for the US National Sombo Team that won the 1995 FIAS World Team Title in Montreal. He has also published a book on SOMBO wrestling. In 2003 he came our of retirement to coach his son Jason and the US World Cup Team that placed second at the FIAS Sombo World Cup that year. Bruce is currently the Maryland Representative for the USA Sombo Association.

Bruce has two sons, Jason and Kevin, and a daughter, Tarin, all of whom were very successful wrestling, Judo, and Sombo competitors.

In 2000, Dr. Gabrielson was inducted into the Maryland State Wrestling Association Hall-of-Fame and received the MSWA's Johnny Eareckson Award, the highest award given to a wrestling supporter, coach, or wrestler in the state. MSWA is the Maryland Chapter of USA Wrestling. He is also also member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Ahlthough retired as a regular head coach in 2006, Coach G is currently a part time assistant coach at SMWC's youth league and off season club, the club his son Jason coachs, and his grandson's Clayton and Eli compete for. He has also gives clinics or helps coach off season for the Surfside Wrestling Club at Orange County Grapplers (CA) when he is in that part of the world plus he still helps with Judo practices at a local club. He has published many articles on successful wrestling techniques that are referenced many places on the Internet. Much information can be found on SMWC and its history and champions on the SMWC.org website, the first wrestling website on the Internet.

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