LeBlanc and Onufer Earn All-America Accolades as UW Climbs Team Standings
March 18, 2011
Junior Joe LeBlanc became Wyoming's third three-time All-American with a 4-0 record on Friday at the 2011 NCAA Wrestling Championships in the Wells Fargo Center and junior Shane Onufer earned his first All-America accolade by going 1-2. The duo helped move UW to 17th in the team standings with 34 points and trail 13th by just four points. Penn State leads with 92.5 and Cornell (75) and Iowa (74) round out the top three.
"It's great to have two All-Americans," UW head coach Mark Branch said. "These guys need to come back tomorrow and finish out with third. They've really helped us move up in the team standings. It was a good performance tonight for sure."
After suffering an upset to in the quarterfinals during Thursday's action, LeBlanc rolled on Friday with four-straight wins, including two major decisions. He claimed a 12-8 decision over Ohio State's Cody Magrum and a 12-3 major decision over West Virginia's Matt Ryan in the morning session, before clinching All-America honors with an 18-8 major decision over Duke's Diego Bencomo in the evening session. He then beat No. 8 Kevin Steinhaus of Minnesota to advance to Saturday morning's consolation semifinals, where he will face the man who knocked him out of the winner's bracket in No. 12 Grant Gambrall of Iowa. LeBlanc is the first three-time UW All-American since Reese Andy accomplished the feat at 177 pounds from 1994-96.
"I told [Joe] he could score a lot of points for us today and he did," Branch said. "That just shows you what kind of heart the kid has. He didn't just lie down because his dreams [of a national title] didn't come true."
Seventh-seeded Onufer entered the day as the only remaining Cowboy in the winner's bracket, but lost a tough 4-1 defensive battle to returning champion Andrew Howe of Wisconsin. Onufer rebounded with a 9-6 decision over No. 11 Aaron Janssen of Iowa to cinch his first All-America accolade, before earning a late reversal for a 7-6 decision over Hofstra's Paul Gillespie. Onufer faces No. 5 Colt Sponseller of Ohio State in the consolation semifinals.
"Shane's wrestled the best he ever has in his career," Branch said. "That's the only way to characterize his performance today. It's the best he's ever wrestled and it's been consistent."
Junior Michael Martinez (125) and senior Cole Dallaserra (149) went 1-1 during the morning session to finish two wins short of All-American. Dallaserra wrestled well in a 15-5 major decision over Wisconsin's Cole Schmitt, as he gave up the first takedown but outscored the Badger 15-3 over the final 4:40 of the match. Dallasera nearly upset No. 11 Andrew Nadhir of Northwestern in his second match of the day, before falling 7-5 in overtime. The Cowboy led 3-1 early in the third period, but Nadhir posted two takedowns over the final 1:45 to send the match into an extra period. Dallaserra's 2-2 mark at the tournament ends his season at 29-9 and career at 88-42.
Martinez was on the other end of a nail biter in his first match of the day, scoring a 7-5 overtime victory over Penn's Mark Rappo. Martinez surrendered an early takedown to the Quaker and was down 3-0 to start the third, but two takedowns in the third before ending the match 48 seconds into the extra period. Martinez faltered in his second match of the day with an 8-2 loss to North Dakota's Trent Sprenkle, an opponent Martinez had defeated twice earlier in the season. Martinez went 2-2 at the tournament to finish the 2010-11 season with a 20-10 record.
Redshirt freshman Patrick Martinez lost his opening match of the day to finish 1-2 in his first appearance at the national tournament. No. 12 Mike Benefiel of Oklahoma State earned a 9-4 decision over Patrick with 3-1 takedown advantage. Martinez finished his first season as a starter for UW at 26-14 with a team-high 10 major decisions.
Saturday's morning sessions begin at 9 a.m. MT, while the final session commences at 5:30 p.m. MT. Updated brackets, team scores and full UW play-by-play results can be found by clicking on the links above.
2011 NCAA Championships