April 1, 2010
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Wyoming Cowboy sophomore wrestler Joe LeBlanc added another award on Thursday to his quickly-growing collection of hardware, when he was named by the Western Wrestling Conference as its' Wrestler of the Year.
The fourth-year league announced its' postseason award winners and LeBlanc received six of seven first-place votes, 20 total points, from WWC head coaches. Northern Colorado's All-American Justin Gaethje received the other first-place vote (13 points) and was runner-up in the voting.
Following up on a dominant regular season, LeBlanc (Meeker, Colo.) placed fourth at the 2010 NCAA Championships and earned All-American distinction at 184 pounds for the second straight year. On his way through the bracket, he upset No. 2 seed John Dergo (Illinois) and No. 5 seed Clayton Foster (Oklahoma State) at Nationals. LeBlanc finished three spots higher than his seed at the national tournament and improved on his NCAA finish from last year, after placing fifth in 2009.
Now the two-time West Regional champion at 184 pounds, LeBlanc led the `Pokes to the 2010 West Regional team title, as well as the 2010 WWC Regular Season Dual team title. His 2009-10 overall record was 39-6 with 28 bonus point margins. Twelve of his wins came by fall, 12 by way of technical fall and four by major decision. He earned a team-best 69 points this past season in 15 duals, an average of 4.6.
LeBlanc tied for No. 6 in the final NCAA Coaches Rankings at 184 pounds and was No. 7 in the final RPI. He placed first (Elite) at the 2009 Cowboy Open, second at the 2009 Body Bar Classic, third at 2009 Las Vegas Invitational and third at the 2009 Reno Tournament of Champions.
His career record is now 84-14 with 19 pins, 18 major decisions and 17 technical falls.
LeBlanc has not lost a WWC match-up in his two-year career (13-0, including West Regional results).
He was the WWC Freshman of the Year in 2008-09 and was recently named the 2009-10 DICollegeWrestling.net West Region Wrestler of the Year.
Other awards announced by the WWC on Thursday included Cole VonOhlen (Air Force) as Freshman of the Year and Brad Penrith (Northern Iowa) as Coach of the Year.
The Wrestler of the Year and Freshman of the Year awards were voted on by the league's head coaches this past week, while the Coach of the Year balloting was determined after the West Regional Tournament.
The Western Wrestling Conference is comprised of seven schools including the Air Force Academy, North Dakota State, Northern Colorado, Northern Iowa, South Dakota State, Utah Valley and Wyoming.