May 4, 2010
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Friends, family and supporters of the Wyoming Cowboy Wrestling team gathered at the program's annual year-end rendezvous this past Saturday to celebrate a successful past season, as well as to give recognition to those student-athletes who had performed above and beyond their competition in both the classroom and on the wrestling mat.
"This was a great day to honor the hard work and achievements of the 2009-10 team," UW head coach Mark Branch stated. "These guys needed to be recognized, not only for a great season but for winning our first conference title since 1992.
"The theme of this program this year was teamwork and sacrifice and it was great to see awards going to guys who epitomized these ideals. I was equally proud of the young men on our team who excelled in the classroom this past year and made us proud with their achievements on campus."
Academic award winners were singled out at the event, in addition to NCAA qualifiers, UW's All-American (Joe LeBlanc) and Wyoming's outgoing seniors. Branch also announced the team awards for 2009-10. Each of the four Wyoming team awards is named after a former head coach of the program.
LeBlanc, Michael Martinez, Shane Onufer and Cory VomBaur were each honored for qualifying for the 2010 NCAA Championships, while LeBlanc was awarded a watch for his All-American finish, fourth place at 184 pounds.
Wyoming senior team members Alex Rieder and VomBaur were recognized in front of the crowd for their outstanding careers and contributions to the program.
Cole Dallaserra, Tyler Davis, Jake Eitzen, Hernandez, LeBlanc, Joe O'Farrell and Michael Poulos each were given academic achievement awards, while Brock Smith accepted Charlie's Hustle Award, which was awarded by Academic Coordinator Charlie Hogan for effort in the classroom.
Branch also made a point to remind the crowd of his team's recent honors bestowed by the UW Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).
LeBlanc was named SAAC's Male Athlete of the Year and the `Pokes also were awarded SAAC's Most Memorable Moment for winning the school's first-ever West Regional team title, becoming UW's first tournament conference championship team since 1992, earning their second straight Western Wrestling Conference regular-season dual title, advancing four individuals to the NCAA Championships and bringing home an NCAA All-American for the second straight year.
"Overall, it was a great way to close the door on the 2010 season and get our sights set on 2011," Branch concluded.