Dec. 10, 2008
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -
University of Wyoming redshirt freshman 184-pounder Joe LeBlanc (Meeker, Colo./Meeker HS) has been named the Western Wrestling Conference's Wrestler of the Week as announced by league officials.
In arguably the top preseason tournament in the country, LeBlanc beat two top-20 wrestlers and placed third at the Las Vegas Invitational with a 6-1 record, two of his wins by major decision.
Unseeded heading into the event at 184 pounds, LeBlanc opened the tournament on Friday by beating the number three-seed and nationally ranked No. 6/7 (W.I.N./InterMat) Vince Jones of Nebraska in overtime. After an apparent 7-6 victory by LeBlanc in regulation time, the two wrestlers were called back to the mat to wrestle an overtime period when a scoring error revealed that the match should have ended in a 7-7 tie. Despite the difficult circumstance, LeBlanc prevailed and took down his favored opponent in overtime to win 9-7.
LeBlanc ended his sterling event performance on Saturday night with an 8-7 victory over No. 18 (W.I.N.) Anthony Biondo of Michigan to earn third place honors in a difficult field. His other wins included a 4-2 decision over Jake Meredith of Arizona State, a 14-2 major decision over Jon Clark of Cal Davis, a 6-5 quarterfinal win over the 11-seed Zac Thomusseit of Pitt and a 10-1 major decision over Tim Hawkins of Cal State Fullerton. LeBlanc's only loss came in the semifinals to eventual tournament champion, No. 4/5 ranked Kirk Smith of Boise State.
Largely due to his success in Las Vegas, LeBlanc entered the USA Today/InterMat/NWCA Individual Rankings this week at No. 11. He is ranked as high as No. 9 in other national rankings.
The Cowboy redshirt freshman now has a season record of 21-3. LeBlanc led the Cowboys to a 19th-place team finish, the best of any other Western Wrestling Conference teams in attendance: Utah Valley (25th), North Dakota State (31st) and Air Force (37th).
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.
Air Force - Andrew Zwirlein, 125, So., Nashotah, Wis. (Arrowhead HS)
North Dakota State - Ryan Adams, 149, Jr., Coon Rapids, Minn.
Northern Colorado - Mitchell Polkowske, 149 lbs., Fr, La Jara, Colo. (Centauri HS)
UNI - Christian Brantley, 285 lbs., R-Fr., Homewood, Ill. (Mount Carmel HS)
Utah Valley - Ben Kjar, 125 lbs., So., Centerville, Utah (Viewmont HS)
South Dakota State - Dustin Walraven, 141 lbs., Fr., Huron, S.D.