Pendleton, LeBlanc and Martinez Qualify For Olympic Team Trials

April 3, 2012

LARAMIE, Wyo. - Over the weekend, three wrestlers associated with the University of Wyoming program qualified to compete in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, which take place April 21-22 In Iowa City, Iowa.

Former Cowboys Michael Martinez and Joe LeBlanc, along with current UW assistant coach Chris Pendleton, each earned a spot in the event based on their performance at the final U.S. Olympic Trials Qualifier in Cedar Falls, Iowa, on Saturday. The trio competed for the Cowboy Wrestling Club, which trains in Laramie at the Wyoming Regional Olympic Training Center. Ernest Rieder, a Cowboy Wrestling Club coach, also competed over the weekend.

The top two athletes in each of the 18 Olympic weight classes who had not previously qualified, earned their spot in the field for the Team Trials, which will be hosted by Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City.

Martinez, a senior on this season's Wyoming team, was the runner-up at 55 kilograms (121 pounds), falling to Zach Sanders in the final. Martinez also wrestled in the Olympic Team Trials in 2008.

LeBlanc, who was a senior this season, was second to New York AC's Tyrel Todd in the final at 84 kg/185 pounds to earn his trip to the Trials. LeBlanc has experience wrestling in 2010 at the FILA Junior World Team Trials.

Pendleton, who completed his second season as a UW assistant, won the final at 96 kilograms (211.5 pounds), defeating past NCAA champion Max Askren. Pendleton was a 2006 USA National Team member.

The trio will join UW sophomore Tyler Cox at the Trials. Cox, who is using an Olympic redshirt year, will compete in the 55-kilogram Greco-Roman class. Cox qualified in December 2011 in the U.S. Open.

U.S. Olympic Trials Qualifier Results
Michael Martinez (Cowboy Wrestling Club) - 55 kilograms/121 pounds
Martinez dec. Cruse Aarhus (Panther Wrestling Club), 2-0, 2-0
Martinez dec. Kidd Gomez (OCU Stars), 4-0, 4-3
Martinez dec. Kyle Hutter (HRWA), 1-1, 0-1, 1-0
Zach Sanders (Minnesota Storm) dec. Martinez, 2-0, 2-0

Ernest Rieder (Cowboy Wrestling Club) - 84 kilograms/185 pounds
Jake Kerr (Unattached) tech. fall Rieder, 7-0, 6-0
Rieder fall (1:50) Tyson Campbell (OCU Stars)
Nick Marable (Sunkist Kids) dec. Rieder, 6-0, 4-1

Joe LeBlanc (Cowboy Wrestling Club) - 84 kilograms/185 pounds
LeBlanc dec. Michael Conner (OCU Stars), 7-0, 5-0
LeBlanc dec. Enock Francois (Team Florida), 0-1, 2-0, 2-1
LeBlanc dec. Terry Madden (NYAC), 0-4, 1-0, 3-1
LeBlanc dec. Kurt Brenner (Mountaineer WC), 0-1, 2-0, 3-1
Tyrel Todd (New York AC) dec. LeBlanc, 5-0, 2-0

Chris Pendleton (Cowboy Wrestling Club) - 96 kilograms/211.5 pounds
Pendleton dec. Phil Hawes (Wartburg), 5-0, 6-0
Pendleton tech. fall Michael Grijalba (Team A-Town) , 6-0, 7-0
Pendleton dec. Craig Brester (NWTC), 3-1, 0-1, 3-2
Pendleton dec. Max Askren (NYAC), 1-0, 3-1