By Chuck Reherman
After missing the Big 12 Wrestling Championships on 2019 due to an injury, Boo Lewellen has one thing on his mind.
Winning a second title.
The junior at Oklahoma State University from Yukon will be the No. 1 seed heading into the Big 12 Wrestling Championships that start today at the BOK Center in Tulsa.
Lewellen won the Big 12 title at 141-pounds in 2018 and finished eighth in the NCAA Championships to earn All-American honors, had to watch from the sidelines in 2019 after injuring his shoulder.
He has since comeback with a vengeance, moving up to 149-pounds and is currently ranked No. 6 in the nation at the weight with an 18-2 record.
He has been dominant in his 18 wins and his only two losses have come to the No. 2 and No. 5 ranked wrestlers in the country.
“I’m very excited to compete at my second Big 12 tournament,” Lewellen said. “At this point in the season I am focused on my performance each match. I expect the best out of myself each match and if I perform to my expectations I believe I will come out on top.
“I don’t think I am more determined this year just for the fact that last year I was just as focused on my goals as I have been this season,” he said. “With that being said I am really looking forward to compete this year and am enjoying not being injured.”
Lewellen has been focused all season long for the Cowboys and has been a team leader all season.
He has scored a team second-best 54 dual points this season. He leads team with nine major decisions and also in wins against top 20 opponents with five.
With all his success at the collegiate level (he’s 42-10 in his collegiate career), Lewellen still feels he has not reached that peak yet.
“I feel I’ve wrestled ok so far,” Lewellen said. “I’m still not performing at my best but that’s what the post season is for and I’m hoping to do so starting this weekend.”
He has wrestled his first three seasons at 141-pounds and moved up to 149 this season. While wrestling in high school, Lewell was a 106 and 113-pounder through his career.
Moving up to 149-pounds has been a natural transition for Lewellen and has not been a good thing for wrestlers in that class in the Big 12. Lewellen is 9-0 this season against Big 12 opponents. He won six of those matched by major decision and one by fall.
“149 is definitely more comfortable for me being able to focus more on my training and not so much on cutting weight is a big plus,” Lewellen said. “Going unbeaten in the Big 12 doesn’t change my game plan going into the championships, but it may motivate the guys at the weight to take me out. I’m focused on myself and am just excited to compete this weekend.”
He has come back stronger and healthier after missing most of last season. He wrestled only four matches before the injury ended his season. But, Lewellen did get a medical hardship which will allow him to come back next year and compete for the Cowboys.
“My injury was my shoulder kept dislocating so ended up having my third procedure on the same shoulder,” he said. “The medical hardship was granted and it allows me to have one more year of competition after this season.
“I think I’m at a good spot physically and mentally to have my best performances,” he added. “Winning another Big 12 title would mean that I’m on track with the goals I’ve had since two years ago when I became an All-American at NCAAs.”
And, he has the determination to achieve that goal.
The Big 12 tournament starts at 11 a.m. today with prelims and quarterfinal matches. The consolation and semifinals begin at 5 p.m. Sunday’s round starts at 11 a.m. with consolation semifinals, fifth and third place matches. The championship finals start at 6 p.m.