Three Cowboy Wrestlers Place in Reno

Dec. 18, 2008

RENO, Nev. -

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The University of Wyoming wrestling team was led by a trio of redshirt freshmen on Thursday at the Reno Tournament of Champions in Reno, Nev.

Cowboy Joe LeBlanc confirmed his recent, high national ranking by advancing to the finals of the 184-pound weight class and placing second. Shane Onufer overcame a semifinal loss to win third place at 174 pounds, while Michael Martinez placed fifth at 125 pounds.

The field in Reno included wrestlers from the likes of No. 13 Oklahoma State, No. 14 Boise State, No. 17 Edinboro, Arizona State, Navy, North Carolina, Oregon State and Stanford.

As a team Wyoming placed seventh out of 30 schools with 62.5 points.Oklahoma State won the team title with a score of 146.5. OSU had one champion and four runners-up.

"This was a good experience that will benefit us down the road, but right now I think the guys are worn out," said first-year Wyoming head coach Mark Branch. "There were a couple of little things here and there that could have made a big difference. Overall it was almost a somber mood from the team, not much emotion. We have wrestled more matches so far this season than almost anyone else and I think that has the guys worn down. This break is coming at a good time. We need to get refocused and reenergized."

No. 10 ranked LeBlanc earned the tournament's one-seed and enjoyed a first round bye. He faced Ryan Smith from Cal Poly in his initial match and won by major decision 14-3. In the quarterfinals, LeBlanc would get another major decision win, this time 17-3 over Ernesto Ancona from Cal State Bakersfield. He bested Chris McNeil of Oklahoma State by a mark of 6-3 in the semifinals. LeBlanc then lost 4-1 in the finals to the two-seed and No. 9 ranked Chris Honeycutt of Edinboro. His final tournament record was 3-1 and his season mark is now 24-4.

Onufer was seeded third entering the event and ranked No. 18 nationally. He earned a 13-5 major decision over North Carolina's Ben Fiacco to start things off, then beat Oregon State's Brandon Perkins 8-2 and had a medical forfeit win over Brendon DeCock of Great Falls. Onufer then narrowly lost by a score of 5-2 to the two-seed from Navy, Luke Rebertus in the semifinals. He would go on to win two more matches, including a 12-10 decision over Jesse Feinsod from New Mexico Highlands in the third place match. Onufer was 5-1 on Thursday and is now 26-5 for the season.

The event's four-seed, Martinez had two big wins to start the tournament, a 14-4 major decision over Stanford's Matt Sencenbaugh and an 18-3 technical fall over Logan Creamer of Clackamas CC, before losing to Edinboro's Kyle Fluke in the quarterfinals. He then advanced through the back-draw with two more wins, one by major decision, until the two seed and No. 12 ranked Marcos Orozco of UC Davis handed him a 6-3 loss. That put Martinez in a match for fifth and sixth place with Jake Gonzales of Oregon State, which Martinez would win in double overtime, 5-4. He finished the tournament 5-2 and now has a season record of 20-6.

Two Cowboy juniors had noteworthy tournaments, but did not place. Cory VomBaur went 4-2 at 133 pounds, while Alex Rieder was 4-2, three wins coming by fall, in the 174 pound weight class. Both of VomBaur's losses came by the same opponent, North Carolina's Mike Rappo, once in the opening round and once in the consolation bracket.

UW redshirt freshman Chase Smith (149) was 3-2, as was senior Eric Coxbill (165). Smith's matches were extreme in both directions, winning by technical fall, pin and major decision, while his losses were by major decision and by fall.

The Cowboys will now take a break from competition until after the first of the year. They will begin the dual meet portion of their schedule on Jan. 4, 2009, when they travel to Fullerton, Calif., to face Cal State Fullerton and Columbia.

Wyoming Results

125 lbs - Michael Martinez (RFr), 5-2, Fifth place
133 lbs - Cory VomBaur (Jr), 4-2
141 lbs - Cole Dallaserra (So), 1-2
149 lbs - Chase Smith (RFr), 3-2
149 lbs - *Cody Chipperfield (Sr), 0-2
157 lbs - Brock Smith (RFr), 0-2
157 lbs - *Tyler Davis (RFr), 2-2
165 lbs - Eric Coxbill (Sr), 3-2
174 lbs - Shane Onufer (RFr), 5-1, Third place
174 lbs - *Alex Rieder (Jr), 4-2
184 lbs - Joe LeBlanc (RFr), 3-1, Second place
197 lbs - Alfonso Hernandez (Fr), 1-2
Heavyweight - Jacob Scharbrough (Fr), 2-2

* denotes UW wrestler competing unattached