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LeBlanc earns trip to state wrestling tournament

For Ryan LeBlanc, the only proper way to establish his own legacy in the Morrisville-Eaton wrestling program was to follow his older brothers into the cauldron of the state championship tournament.

And that's exactly where LeBlanc is going after claiming the 160-pound championship at Sunday's Section III Division II meet at Utica Auditorium.

A year ago, as a freshman, LeBlanc came within inches of going all the way, only to suffer a painful loss to Adirondack's Mike Cole at 152 pounds.

Fueled by that bitter memory, LeBlanc has 36-1 this winter, his only defeat an overtime decision to Whitesboro star Matt DeMichiel, a three-time sectional champion in his own right.

Now, as he came to Utica, LeBlanc hoped to match the great record of his two brothers, Treavor and Paul, both of whom made it to the state meet as Paul won a Division II state title at 140 pounds in 2005.

Entering the sectional meet as the top seed, LeBlanc wasted little time announcing his presence, taking less than a minute to pin Jake Meyers (also from Adirondack) in the quarterfinal round.

With each round, it got tougher. LeBlanc met Tyler Flath (General Brown) in a tense semifinal that went to the third period 2-1 before LeBlanc used an escape and takedown to pull away and win, 4-1.

This led LeBlanc to the championship match against Beaver River's Shawn Tripp. Two years older, Tripp, a senior, locked up LeBlanc for much of the match, never allowing him to get any easy points.

Still, late in the first period, LeBlanc gained a 1-0 lead when Tripp was called for running off the mat to prevent an attack. An escape in the second period made it 2-0.

Tripp didn't give up, earning his own escape in the third period, but LeBlanc made sure he got nothing else as, by that slim 2-1 margin, LeBlanc earned his trip to the March 3-4 state meet in Albany.

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