LeBlanc, Hernandez earn nod from NWCA
Former wrestler is one of Wyoming's all-time greats
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Preview of interviews with Cowboy wrestling All-Americans Joe LeBlanc and Shane Onufer.
Interview with three-time Cowboy All-American wrestler Joe LeBlanc, 3-25-11
Interview with Cowboy wrestler Joe LeBlanc, 3-14-11
2010-11: LeBlanc racked up another impressive season as a junior, as he became UW's third three-time All-American with a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Championships. Ranked in the top six in the nation all year, he finished 29-3 overall and 17-1 in duals at 184 pounds with nine pins, nine major decisions and three technical falls. He went 8-1 versus the WWC.
Fifth-seeded LeBlanc pinned Purdue's AJ Kissel in 6:41 to open the national tournament, but had his national title hopes dashed after losing to No. 12 Grant Gambrall of Iowa in the second round. He rebounded with four-straight wins on the second day, including two major decisions, to advance through the consolation bracket, but missed weight on the final day due to a scale malfunction and was forced to forfeit his final two matches.
LeBlanc's NCAA run came after narrowly missing his third-consecutive West Regional title. He finished second at the conference tournament after losing a 4-3 decision to Northern Iowa's Ryan Loder in the final. LeBlanc went 8-1 against the WWC during the season. The effort earned him second-team All-WWC honors.
LeBlanc was dominant during the regular season after being slowed at the start by an injury. He started with dual wins against Nebraska and Oregon State, before going 5-0, including three pins, to win the Reno Tournament of Champions. He suffered his first loss of the season with a close 7-6 decision to No. 6 Robert Hamlin of Lehigh at the Virginia Duals, but bounced back with 15 consecutive wins to end the regular season. LeBlanc rolled through the heart of the dual season with nine bonus-point victories and was named the WWC Wrestler of the Week on Feb. 15. After the season, he received UW's Steven Suder High Point Award for the second-consecutive season and was named to the WWC All-Academic Team. He also was an NWCA Academic All-America honoree.
2009-10: Proving that the success of his freshman year was no fluke, LeBlanc had a dominant sophomore year in a variety of areas.
He earned his second All-America honor on the wrestling mat after placing fourth at the 2010 NCAA Championships. LeBlanc moved one step up the podium and improved on his finish from his first year, after placing fifth in 2009. He became the 25th All-American in school history and the fifth two-time All-American in UW Wrestling history.
At the national tournament, he made waves by beating the No. 2 seed John Dergo from Illinois in the quarterfinals and narrowly losing in the semifinals to the eventual national champion, Max Askren from Missouri.
In addition to his afore-mentioned finish at nationals, he was the 2010 Western Wrestling Conference Wrestler of the Year after earning his second first-team All-WWC honor. He won his second NCAA West Regional championship at 184 pounds and led the `Pokes to the 2010 West Regional team title, as well as the 2010 WWC Regular Season Dual team title.
LeBlanc's 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 in 15 duals, an average of 4.6.
LeBlanc's season record placed him in a tie for eighth on UW's single-season victories list with Mike Hamel (1984-85).
On the season, Joe LeBlanc beat six top-20 opponents, including No. 2 Dergo, No. 3 Mike Pucillo (Ohio State) and No. 5 Clayton Foster (Oklahoma State).
He was named the Outstanding Wrestler for both the Cowboy Open and the NCAA West Regional, winning titles at both. LeBlanc also performed well at multiple other large events, taking second at the Body Bar Classic, and third in both Las Vegas and Reno. He was DICollegeWrestling.net `s West Region Wrestler of the Year.
Giving an equal amount of effort off the mat, LeBlanc was recognized by the National Wrestling Coaches Association on its annual Division I All-Academic team and he then rounded out his resume with a distinction from the National Strength and Conditioning Association, awarded its annual All-American Strength and Conditioning Athlete of the Year award. His grade-point-average during the fall of `09 was 4.0 to be named to the Coaches' Honor Roll for the Western Wrestling Conference.
LeBlanc was named the 2009-10 UW Student-Athlete Advisory Committee's Male Athlete of the Year and he gained good experience in the summer prior to the season when he wrestled at the FILA Junior World Team Trials.
2008-09: LeBlanc exploded onto the college wrestling scene and became the first-ever freshman All-American in the history of Wyoming wrestling by placing fifth in the 184-pound weight class at the 2009 NCAA Championships.
He was the first All-American in 13 years for UW's wrestling program and the 24th in school history. During his tournament run, LeBlanc beat four seeded (top-12) opponents, one by major decision and one by fall, in addition to winning two bouts against opponents he had lost to earlier this season.
Over the course of the season, LeBlanc had seven wins over National Wrestling Coaches Association top-20 ranked opponents: No. 7 Vince Jones (Nebraska), No. 15 Alex Dolly (Northern Iowa), No. 12 Jordan Blanton (Illinois), No. 9 David Craig (Lehigh), No. 17 Chris Honeycutt (Edinboro), No. 6 Josh Patterson (Binghamton) and Jones again when he was ranked No. 10.
LeBlanc earned a spot into the NCAA Championships by winning the 184-pound West Regional title. He posted a 45-8 overall record, which included a 15-2 mark in dual action and 7-0 against WWC opponents. He won three tournament titles in 2008-09 and scored a team-high 68 team points in duals.
His 45 wins tied for third-place on UW's Single-Season Victories list with Wes Gasner, who had 45 wins during the 1983-84 season.
LeBlanc had two double-digit winning streaks during the season (10 and 11). He tallied 14 major decisions, five technical falls and seven pins. Seven of his eight losses came to opponents ranked in the top-10.
A winner of numerous awards, he was named the WWC Freshman of the Year, was voted to the Amateur Wrestling News All-Rookie First Team, was D1CollegeWrestling.net's West Region Freshman of the Year and earned a spot on their national All-Freshman Team. He was named the WWC Wrestler of the Week on Dec.9 for taking third at the Las Vegas Invite and earned first-team All-WWC honors for winning the West Regional title.
LeBlanc added nearly 20 pounds to his frame from the previous year and showed that 184 was a natural weight for him.
2007-08: LeBlanc was one of 10 Cowboys who used his redshirt year. Competing as an individual, he had a record of 8-6, with four pins and three major decisions. LeBlanc wrestled at 165 pounds most of the year. He won the Utah Valley Open and made the semifinals at the Kearney Open.
High School: LeBlanc was a three-time Colorado state champion and the state tournament's 2006 Most Outstanding Wrestler. His wrestling team won three state titles. He was a junior All-American wrestler, an all-state football player, all-conference baseball player and was on the honor roll for three years while at Meeker. His overall record while at Meeker was 130-23 and he recorded 90 pins.
Personal: Born June 7, 1989 in Meeker, Colo. He is the son of the late Dr. Randy LeBlanc and Sharon LeBlanc. His stepfather was the late Bren Sullivan. Joe has five siblings, Barny, Isaac, Andrea, Nicole and Tara. He married Amanda (Gillan) on May 5, 2009, and the couple welcomed a baby boy (Tyson) on Dec. 15 of that same year. LeBlanc is a kinesiology and health promotion major at UW.