Bowlby Earns USA Wrestling Championship Belt

Dec. 27, 2001

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State heavyweight Andy Bowlby is the winner of the USA Wrestling's 2001 Championship Belt Series for University-level wrestlers, it was announced Thursday. Bowlby, an OSU junior from Newberg, Ore., won both the freestyle and Greco-Roman titles at the University National Championships and also earned a silver medal in freestyle at the Pan American Championships.

USA Wrestling's University National Championships cover the freestyle and Greco-Roman styles, while the NCAA Championships are for collegiate, or 'folkstyle' competition.

Bowlby and the rest of the 25th-ranked Beavers (5-3 overall, 2-1 Pacific-10) left Thursday for Evanston, Ill., where they will compete in the Midlands Open on Saturday and Sunday.

'It's great for Andy to be recognized this way. It's unusual to have a double-winner for both styles,' OSU head coach Joe Wells said just before the Beavers departed Corvallis. 'I think Andy fancies himself a freestyle and Greco-Roman guy - he's big and strong, and he's got good technique. He'll cause problems for anybody he wrestles.

'It's a great situation for him right now, because he and Jason Cooley (OSU's nationally-ranked heavyweight in the collegiate style) are really pushing each other, and they could both be nationally-ranked. It's wonderful to have two of the nation's best heavyweights.'

USA Wrestling is the governing body for the sport in the United States. Based on a point system, it crowns Championship Belt Series winners in each of its age-group levels: Cadet, Junior, FILA Junior World, University and Senior levels. Athletes only receive points on the specific age level where they compete, and points cannot transfer from one age level to another age level.

Bowlby claimed the University level Championship Belt Series with 163 points, defeating runner-up Jamill Kelly of Stillwater, Okla. by 40 points. University athletes are 18-24 years old and their class has graduated from high school.

Bowlby, competing for the Orange Crush Mat Club, won a double title at the University National Championships, claiming gold medals in both freestyle and Greco-Roman at 286 pounds. He also claimed a silver medal in freestyle at the Pan American Championships.

The Belt Series is based upon a point system, rewarding athletes for actual success in competition. Athletes who place in the major USA Wrestling events on the regional, national and international levels scored points in the series.

Each event is weighed according to importance and difficulty, in order to determine the most successful wrestler during the season. A wrestler also receives points for receiving the Most Outstanding Wrestler award and Most Falls award at the events. On the age group levels, points scored in both freestyle and Greco-Roman are combined for the final standings.

The Belt Series was created in 1990 to recognize America's most successful age-group athletes. Among the past age-group Belt Series winners are 2000 Olympic Champion Brandon Slay, 1999 World Champion Stephen Neal, 1998 World Champion and 2000 Olympic silver medalist Sammie Henson, 2000 Olympic silver medalist Matt Lindland and 1996 Olympic silver medalist Brandon Paulson. Seven former age-group Championship Belt winners claimed NCAA Div. I individual titles, as well.

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