Cowboy Wrestler Joe LeBlanc Earns Spot on NWCA All-Academic Team

May 6, 2010


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Two-time Wyoming Cowboy All-American Joe LeBlanc was recognized by the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) on Wednesday when the organization included the UW sophomore on its annual Division I All-Academic wrestling team for the 2009-10 wrestling season.

He becomes just the second wrestler in the history of Wyoming's program to be honored by both the NWCA for academics and earn All-America honors on the mat, the other being Brandon Alderman in 1996. Prior to the spring semester, LeBlanc boasted a 3.043 GPA in kinesiology.

Academic accolades coupled with academic success was a common theme on this year's NWCA All-Academic team, especially at LeBlanc's weight class of 184 pounds. Of 23 NCAA All-Americans to make the list, five were national champions and each of the top-five placers in the 184-pound bracket were honored, including LeBlanc who finished fourth. In all, 74 individuals representing 45 schools were honored on this year's NWCA All-Academic Team.

"Joe has put the same emphasis into the classroom that he has into the wrestling room and it shows," UW head coach Mark Branch said. "He now sees the importance of succeeding academically, and it is great to see a student-athlete who is striving to be the total package."

To qualify for the All-Academic team, a wrestler must have at least a 3.2 cumulative GPA, and either been an NCAA qualifier or won 60 percent of his total schedule - and must have competed in at least 60 percent of said schedule. The other way to qualify for the All-Academic team is to have a 3.0 GPA and been an NCAA All-American.

After a dominant regular season in 2009-10, LeBlanc (Meeker, Colo.) placed fourth at the 2010 NCAA Championships and earned All-America 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.

The 2010 Western Wrestling Conference Wrestler of the Year, LeBlanc is a two-time NCAA West Regional champion at 184 pounds. He led the `Pokes to the 2010 West Regional team title, as well as the 2010 WWC Regular Season Dual team title. His season 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 84-14 with 19 pins, 18 major decisions and 17 technical falls.

He was recently named the 2009-10 UW Student-Athlete Advisory Committee's Male Athlete of the Year, as well as the 2009-10 West Region Wrestler of the Year. LeBlanc was the WWC Freshman of the Year in 2008-09.