LeBlanc begins quest for national wrestling title

RBC I “I’m super excited and feeling really good,” University of Wyoming senior Joe LeBlanc said by phone from St. Louis, Mo., where the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships will begin today.
LeBlanc will enter his fourth and final national tournament as a three-time NCAA West Regional champ, a three-time All-American, the University of Wyoming’s all-time leader in wins with 143 and currently the nation’s No. 1 ranked 184-pounder.
“I feel less pressure this year,” LeBlanc said. “I’ve been here three times before, I’m healthy and wrestling better than I ever have.”
Leblanc (30-1, including 11 pins and 9 technical falls) will open the tournament against Mike Larson (Missouri, 20-4) this morning and will take the tournament one match at a time.
“I learned my lesson last year and will not overlook anyone,” LeBlanc said. LeBlanc lost in the second round last year, before coming back to win four matches in the consolation bracket to earn All-American honors. “I’m going to focus on each match, one at a time, to get me closer to a title.”
LeBlanc is also excited about his team’s chances for a top 10 finish.
“We have a really good chance to place well as a team out here,” LeBlanc said. “We are taking six guys and if we get clicking, we’ll definitely win a lot of matches, we could compete for a top five finish. We would all be disappointed if we don’t finish in the top 10.”
Leblanc will be joined by teammates Michael Martinez (125), Zach Zehner (133), Shane Onufer (No. 2 seed at 165), Pat Martinez (174) and Alfonso Hernandez (No. 9 seed at 197).
LeBlanc will also be joined in St. Louis his wife Amanda, whose mother will take care of their sons Tyson and Colby, and many other family members including his mom and friends for the “Big Dance.”
“This is the first time all my brothers and sisters will be together to watch me,” Leblanc said of siblings Barney, Isaac, Andrea and Nicole and their families. “And a bunch of my buddies. I’m really excited.”