May 2, 2012
LARAMIE, Wyo. - Achievements on the wrestling mat and in the classroom were recognized Saturday at the annual year-end banquet for the University of Wyoming wrestling program. Wyoming head coach Mark Branch and his staff doled out awards to his student-athletes for their work over the season.
The Everett Lantz Most Outstanding Wrestler award went to Joe LeBlanc, who finished off his senior campaign with his fourth-straight All-America honor, the first to do so in UW history. LeBlanc ended his career with 147 wins, tops in Wyoming history, and finished seventh at this year's NCAA Championships at 184 pounds. LeBlanc previously was named the team's outstanding wrestler in 2009-10.
Junior Alfonso Hernandez was named the Steven Suder High Point Award recipient, an award given for total dual points and grade-point average. The Joe Dowler Cowboy Up Award was given to senior Michael Martinez for the third time in his career for battling through injuries to post another successful season. Redshirt freshman Zach Zehner was given the Joe McDaniel Most Improved Wrestler Award for his trip to the NCAA Championships.
Those four Pokes, along with senior Shane Onufer and sophomore Pat Martinez, received plaques for their efforts to qualify for nationals. Hernandez and LeBlanc each received watches for their All-America finishes.
Three wrestlers, including Hernandez, junior Michael Poulos and redshirt freshman Leland Pfeifer, were recognized for keeping a GPA above 3.50. Two received awards for keeping a 3.0 GPA, LeBlanc and redshirt freshman Robert Stroh. The Academic Hustle awards went to sophomore Kyle Komata and redshirt freshman Andy McCulley, and the Outstanding Academic Freshman Awards went to Tanner Harms and Sean O'Leary.
Branch also recognized Wyoming's five seniors and thanked them for their contributions to the program throughout the years. This year's seniors were Dallas Hintz, LeBlanc, Michael Martinez, Onufer and Chase Smith.