Andrew Howe earns Outstanding Wrestler award after capturing Sunkist Kids International Open title

By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling | Oct. 27, 2010, 1:58 p.m. (ET)
Wisconsin junior Andrew Howe works for an edge in the Sunkist Kids International Open. Larry Slater photo.

TEMPE, Ariz. - Step on the wrestling mat against Andrew Howe and prepare for a hard-fought, all-out battle.

He still has two years of college eligibility remaining, but Howe is quickly establishing himself as a force on the Senior level in freestyle wrestling.

Howe, a 2010 NCAA champion for Wisconsin and a 2010 U.S. Open champion, swept Cyler Sanderson in the finals of the Sunkist Kids International Open on Sunday at the Wells Fargo Arena.

Howe downed Sanderson 1-0, 1-0 in the finals at 74 kg/163 lbs. He was a near-unanimous pick for Outstanding Wrestler. Howe will begin competition in his junior season at Wisconsin next month. He competes collegiately at 165.

"This was a great opportunity to get back on the mat and compete" said Howe, who placed second in the 2010 U.S. World Team Trials. "I haven't wrestled since I went on a trip to Azerbaijan (in July), so I was excited to be wrestling again."

Howe rallied for a tough 0-3, 2-1, 7-4 win over past NCAA All-American Moza Fay in the semifinal round. He also beat 2010 NCAA champion J.P. O'Connor 2-0, 2-1 in the quarterfinals. O'Connor won NCAAs last March at 157, one weight class below Howe.

"I got some good matches in against some tough guys" he said. "There's always room to learn and improve. I still have a lot of things I need to work on."

The Sunkist Kids won the team title with Japan finishing second.

2007 World Team member Tommy Rowlands continued his comeback by sweeping Blake Gillis 6-0, 5-0 in the finals at 120 kg/264.5 lbs. Rowlands took 20 months off after the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials, before returning to the mat earlier this year.

In a battle of past NCAA champions, Matt Valenti downed Derek Moore 1-1, 1-0 in the finals at 60 kg/132 lbs. Moore opened the scoring with a takedown, but Valenti fought back to gain a takedown for the last point in the first period.

Brandon Halsey came back from an early deficit to beat Brent Jones 7-3, 4-0 in the finals at 96 kg/211.5 lbs.

Canada's Jeff Adamson defeated James Yonushonis 1-0, 2-1 to win the title at 84 kg/185 lbs.

Japan's Yasuhiro Morita downed Ryak Finch of the Cyclone Wrestling Club 1-0, 6-0 in the first finals match at 55 kg/121 lbs. Finch, an Arizona native, is a true freshman at Iowa State.

Takafumi Kojima won an all-Japan final at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. after rallying past Kohei Fujimoto 2-3, 2-0, 4-0 in the title bout.



55 kg/121 lbs.
Yasuhiro Morita (Japan) dec. Ryak Finch (Cyclone Wrestling Club), 1-0, 6-0

60 kg/132 lbs.
Matt Valenti (Lehigh Valley AC) dec. Derek Moore (U.S. Army), 1-1, 1-0

66 kg/145.5 lbs.
Takafumi Kojima (Japan) dec. Kohei Fujimoto (Japan), 2-3, 2-0, 4-0

74 kg/163 lbs.
Andrew Howe (New York AC) dec. Cyler Sanderson (Nittany Lion WC), 1-0, 1-0

84 kg/185 lbs.
Jeff Adamson (Canada) dec. James Yonushonis (New York AC), 1-0, 2-1

96 kg/211.5 lbs.
Brandon Halsey (Sunkist Kids) dec. Brent Jones (Cavalier WC), 7-3, 4-0

120 kg/264.5 lbs.
Tommy Rowlands (Sunkist Kids) dec. Blake Gillis (Lehigh Valley AC), 6-0, 5-0