DAVID HARVEY-BOWEN: 1998 BFS Athlete of the Year
David Harvey-Bowen is the 19th recipient of our most prestigious award. He was selected due to his high moral character, dedication to academics, physical strength and commitment to excelence.
By Greg Shepard
Published: Winter 1998
David Harvey-Bowen of Churchville Chili High School just outside of Rochester, New York is the 1998 Bigger Faster Stronger Athlete of the Year. He becomes the 19th recipient of our most prestigious award. Selection is based on athletic achievement in sports, the ability to overcome obstacles, scholarship, leadership, general character and the ability to put life into its proper perspective. David has proven his worth in all of the above areas. He is the strongest athlete to ever receive this award.
I have followed David's career since his 9th grade year when we did an article on him in our Winter 1995 BFS Journal. I labeled him as a 15-year old phenom. Since then, he has also been selected to our First Team BFS High School America Team. I was very anxious to meet David at the press conference and special school assembly on his behalf. I was also anxious to meet his coach, Paul Dick, who spent so many hours with David as his football and strength coach.
I was not disappointed. I saw immediately that we at BFS had made a wise choice. David was humble and polite. He had the respect and admiration of everyone. David's best trait, I believe, was the ability to make everyone around him feel like a good friend. One young man in a wheelchair, who was in special education, came to see David get his award because David had always taken time to make him feel important.
Coach Dick wrote me a letter back in 1995 about David and claimed to have a superman 9th grader who could Bench 355, Squat 605 and Power Clean 340 pounds. I said to myself, “Yeah right, in your dreams.” However, I was curious enough to look at his video of David.
The video knocked my socks off. David Harvey-Bowen was a legitimate phenom. His Bench was strict, his Squat was a true Parallel Squat and his 340 Power Clean was done effortlessly. I replayed that Power Clean nearly 100 times. It was truly a thing of beauty.
David started lifting in the 6th grade. “I went to the high school,” remembered David. “I was looking for my brother Alan who was two grades ahead of me. He was lifting weights for football.”
Coach Dick remembered that day also, “He was looking for his older brother and I was talking to him. I put my hand on David's shoulder. I couldn't believe how muscular he was. So I talked him into lifting.”
“Coach Dick saw me,” said David. “ I looked at the other guys squat and gave it a try. David Parallel Squatted 200 pounds on his first day at a bodyweight of 205 pounds.
David giggled, “ I was a little chunky. I guess after that squat they were all in shock. I didn't think anything about it. I didn't know if it was good or not.”
When David was a 7th grader, he entered a Power Lifting meet and Dead Lifted 500 pounds! He also Squatted 455 and Benched 245 pounds. David played football, basketball and baseball in junior high but concentrated on football, shot put and weights in high school.
David is musically gifted. He has taken piano lesson for years and prefers Bach and Mozart. David also made the All-State Choir where he sings bass.
I told Dragomir Cioroslan about David. Dragomir coaches our United States weightlifting team in Colorado Springs. As a result, David lifted in some Olympic Lifting meets. He set three 16-year old national records as he Snatched 264 pounds and Clean and Jerked 319 pounds for a Total record of 583 pounds.
The following year David lifted in a U.S.P.F. Power Lifting meet in the 242-pound class. He set three national records as a 17-year old. David had a record 720 Squat, a record 430 Bench and a 690 Dead lift for a 1840-pound Total record.
David also excelled on the football field as he rushed for 1.420 yards and 22 touchdowns. In one game, David rushed for 308 yards. His great accomplishments earned him a starting role in the first ever New York-New Jersey All-Star game. David's best training lifts are as follows: Squat 725, Bench 445, Dead Lift 710, Power Clean 412 along with a 4.62 forty. David was also coached by Dan Geiger who is the defensive coordinator and splits strength coaching duties with Coach Dick.
The U.S. Weightlifting people wanted David to pursue Olympic style lifting full time but David also loves football. He made some All-State teams and accepted a scholarship at Western Kentucky. At present, David is a true freshman and carried the ball twelve times for 64 yards helping his Hilltoppers to a 49-7 opening game victory.
David hates the thought of steroids. “Steroids,” he said, “are the way of cheaters and a way to an early death. Weights are not more important than life or a healthy life. Taking steroids just doesn't make any sense to me.
“The same goes for drugs, alcohol or tobacco. Coach Shepard, I have never gone near drugs. I am so proud of that fact. I have never gone out and gotten drunk. I just don't understand it. I have never smoked or chewed tobacco. Those things have never appealed to me.”
David makes sure he attends his classes everyday and is always on time. He turns his homework and quizzes in on time. “That's how I push my grades up,” said David. “Big tests are tough for me so I have got to make sure my homework is done right.”
There are two well known stories about David that are examples of his leadership. When he was an 8th grader at the end of the football season, David stood up to the varsity high school players and said, “You all need to be in the weight room to get ready for next season. Be there or you'll answer to me.”
As a 9th grader, David saw a kid smoking in the restroom. He asked him if he knew that it was against school rules to smoke in the school. The smoker started yelling at David and pushed him. David calmly took his cigarette away and flushed it down the toilet. They are friends today and respect each other. David has the unique ability to do the right thing while getting others to respond in a positive way.
David believes you should always listen to your coach. “Respect everybody,” David advises. “If you give your respect, you'll get respect. I know when I go out, I represent not only myself but my school, my coaches, my team, my parents and my church. If I were ever to get a black mark on my record, it would go down as a black mark on all those who I represent.
“God gave me a talent and I try to work with it. I have been so very blessed. I know to be successful that I must stay faithful to my belief in God. I must honor my friends and family. I have a good support system of coaches and parents. That's why it is so important for me to have a good attitude and work hard.”
I thank David and Coach Paul Dick. What a joy it was to be with them at their school. I came away all pumped up to be a better man.