By Chuck Reherman
TULSA – Perseverance.
After missing nearly the entire 2018-19 season, Boo Lewellen persevered though this season to be the No. 1 seed in the Big 12 Wrestling Championships.
He persevered again in the tournament, coming from behind in both the semifinals and the championships finals to win his second Big 12 title at the 2020 championships Sunday night at the BOK Center in Tulsa.
Lewellen trailed 3-2 and 5-3 to Henry Pohlmeyer of South Dakota State University before coming back to take an 8-5 decision in the final 1:40 of the 149-pound match.
Lewellen had won the 141-pound title in 2018 after starting the season as a back-up and taking over the starting role and an injury sidelined the starter.
He ran into injury problems in 2018, breaking his ankle and then suffering a shoulder injury that required surgery and sidelined him for the year.
But, Lewellen has come back strong, finished the regular season 18-2 and claimed his second title.
Lewellen, ranked No. 6 in the nation at 149, has qualified for the NCAA Wrestling Championships in Minneapolis and now waits to see where he will be seeded.
Lewellen, though, won’t get a chance to compete for a national title this year after the NCAA announced it had canceled all winter and spring championships due to health concern from the Covid-19 concerns.
The second title has been a sweet one for Lewellen after coming back from his injuries, but does rate it right with his first title.
“Honestly it is about the same as the first,” Lewellen said. “I will never forget it, I will remember it the rest of my life. It’s awesome to have the fans that we have here and it is special to have the tournament in Tulsa. It’s close for the fans to come to and it makes it nice to have them all here.
“The first one was special, but this one has its own special twist to it,” he said. “They both ones I will remember in their own special way.”
Winning the championship wasn’t easy though. Pohlmeyer surprised Lewellen early with a takedown and the lead and held it through the first two periods and into the third before Lewellen made his comeback.
“Yeah, he was tough, he came out ready to go,” Lewellen side. “I had to keep fighting and scoring points. The first time we wrestled he really didn’t shoot, but he came out firing. He took me down twice, but I knew I had to keep attacking.
“It is a long seven minutes and I was looking to get my takedown because I didn’t get it until the end of the second period,” he said. “The whole time I was thinking where could I get my opening and open this guy up. I knew I just need to keep scoring points.”
Lewellen had a tough semifinal with Jarrett Degen of Iowa State after he had scored a 15-0 technical fall over Cameron Hunsaker of Utah Valley in the opening round. He pinned Degen in 6:18 after traiing in the match.
Lewellen was wrestling Degen last year when he injured his shoulder.
“They are all tough, I’m lucky to have to opponents I have in the Big 12,” he said. “It is good competition and it us making us all better.”