Like in most small towns, high school sports mean everything in Elizabethville, Pennsylvania. The Trojans of Upper Dauphin Area High School have tremendous support from the local community. Each year, the Trojans are successful in sports, relative to their competition. Upper Dauphin isn’t an area that produces professional athletes, and it rarely produces Division 1 athletes. Every so often, though, a special athlete goes through UDAHS. Wrestler Bronson Garber is the latest example of a truly special athlete to wear the orange and black. His tremendous high school career in the sport recently came to an end. Garber set numerous records at Upper Dauphin, and his career deserves recognition.
Bronson Garber’s Wrestling Career
Accolades at Upper Dauphin
The list of Bronson Garber’s accomplishments as a Trojan goes on and on. Garber started setting records in his junior year, when he became the first Upper Dauphin wrestler to reach the 100-win milestone as a junior. He was the eighth wrestler in school history to reach 100 wins. By the end of his senior year, Garber totaled a record of 170-20. The 170 wins shattered the previous record, and 70 of the wins came via fall.
Garber’s .895 win percentage is the second best of all Trojan wrestlers who ever reached 100 wins. He placed third, fourth, fifth, and sixth at states throughout his career, and was the only Upper Dauphin wrestler to become a four-time state qualifier and placer.
During his time at Upper Dauphin, Bronson Garber was selected as the MVP of the Tri-Valley League and the Schuylkill League. He was voted a first-team All-Star of the Southeast Region. Garber was the 17th wrestler in history to become a Schuylkill League champion in all four seasons. Along with that, Garber was voted a Schuylkill League First-Team All-Star three times.
Garber Reflects on Career
Wrestling is a sport that many kids participate in as young kids, especially in Central Pennsylvania. Bronson Garber was no different, though not all kids fall in love with the sport the way Garber did. “I started to wrestle when I was in kindergarten. The only reason I started to wrestle was because I would have to go to all my brother’s practices and all the older kids and coaches would mess around with me on the mat,” Garber said.
Garber didn’t instantly fall in love with wrestling. It started off as something that he just did for fun. Then, he realized his potential in the sport and really started putting a lot of work in. “I’d say I didn’t fall in love with wrestling until 7th grade because that’s when I started to put a lot of time into the sport. I think I always had the thought of wrestling in college but it wasn’t a sure thing until middle school. That’s when I knew I wanted to wrestle at the next level for sure,” Garber said. His hard work paid off, as Garber will be continuing his career at the Division 1 level at Virginia Military Institute.
Time at Upper Dauphin
Like any successful wrestler, Bronson Garber had coaches and teammates who helped mold him into a star. “I would say Coach (Todd) Rupp and then my old club coach Ian Assael. I wasn’t really good at wrestling until I started to train at his club,” Garber said. Todd Rupp is the current varsity coach at Upper Dauphin, where he was the coach of many successful wrestlers, including four 100-match winners. “An influential training partner I would say is Jaret Lane. I practiced with him for about 5-6 years and he would always kick the s–t out of me and I’d say he was a big reason I got to where I am,” Garber said.
Ask any wrestler about some of their memorable matches, and they could probably go on for days. There are a few matches that stick in Bronson Garber’s head from his career. “I’d say freshman year my quarterfinal match was a very memorable one because after I won I knew that I was placing at states. And then my very last match at states this year was a memorable one because it was my last high school match and I knew I was done wrestling with Upper Dauphin,” he said.
Garber went on to discuss the emotions following his final match in his UDA career. “There were multiple emotions going through my head. I was happy because I won the match, sad because it was my last match, and disappointed because I knew I could have made and won the state finals.”
Wrestling at the Collegiate Level
Garber will be wrestling in either the 125-pound or 133-pound weight class at VMI. There were a few factors that contributed to his choice of VMI over other colleges. “I like the campus a lot. It seemed like the place where I wanted to be and where I pictured myself. Another huge factor was the coaches. I knew each of the coaches and I knew that they were the right ones to train me and they were the ones who believed in me the most out of any others.” One thing is for sure about Garber’s collegiate career. He will pursue each practice and match with a strong work ethic, and continue to improve each time he steps on the mat. And in the process, he will continue to represent the Upper Dauphin community and make them proud in all he does.