Sonnen wins 2000 Championship Belt Series on the University level

By Gary Abbott | Dec. 11, 2000, 12 a.m. (ET)
USA Wrestling has announced that Chael Sonnen of West Linn, Ore. claimed the 2000 Championship Belt Series on the University level. USA Wrestling will be naming the winners of USA Wrestling's four age-group levels this week. The top point scorer in the series on the Cadet, Junior, FILA Junior World and University levels receives a handsome plaque. The top 10 point scorers in each age level are recognized. Athletes only receive points on the specific age level where they compete. Points can not transfer from one age level to another age level. University champion - Chael Sonnen, West Linn, Ore. Chael Sonnen of West Linn, Ore. claimed the University level Championship Belt Series with 105 points, edging runner-up Josh Etu of Queensbury, N.Y. by five points. University athletes are 18-24 years old and their class has graduated high school. Sonnen was the University Nationals Greco-Roman champion at 187.25 pounds and was named Outstanding Wrestler. He also won a silver medal in freestyle at the University Nationals. Sonnen is a senior at the Univ. of Oregon. Etu was a double champion at the University Nationals, winning gold medals in both freestyle and Greco-Roman at 286 pounds. He is a sophomore at the Univ. of Virginia. 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. 2000 University Championship Belt Series Top Ten 1. Chael Sonnen, West Linn, Ore., 105 pts. 2. Josh Etu, Queensbury, N.Y., 100 pts. 3. (tie) Kenny Cox, Eugene, Ore., 90 pts 3. (tie) Casey Kotter, Portland, Ore., 90 pts. 5. (tie) Davey Starks, Stoughton, Wis., 85 pts. 5. (tie) Jake Clark, Quantico, Va., 85 pts. 7. (tie) Nathan Coy, Oregon City, Ore., 80 pts. 7. (tie) Camillo Gonzales, Montclair, Calif., 80 pts. 9. (tie) Jon Lanning, Morris, Ill., 75 pts. 9. (tie) Scott Munsey, Quantico, Va., 75 pts. Past University Level Belt Series Champions 2000 - Chael Sonnen (OR) 1999 - Sean Kim (CA) 1998 - Anthony Esposito (IL) 1997 - Billy Pierce (MN) 1996 - Dan Hicks (VA) and Biff Walizer (PA) 1995 - Lindsay Durlacher (IL) 1994 - Matt Lindland (OR) 1993 - Tolly Thompson (IA) 1992 - Mike Fusilli (NY) 1991 - Steve King (MN) 1990 - Sam Henson (MO)