In his first taste of state championship pressure, Morrisville-Eaton sophomore wrestler Ryan LeBlanc feasted well.
LeBlanc had just one defeat at last weekend's state meet at Albany Times-Union Center, finishing in third place in the Division II 160-pound weight class and closing his season with a 40-2 record.
Of course, trips to the state meet are not a new phenomenon for the LeBlanc family. Two of Ryan's older brothers, Treavor and Paul, got his far in their days with the Warrior program, and Paul won it all at 140 pounds in Division II in 2004.
Drawing from that experience, Ryan did not show any initial nerves in Friday morning's opening round, beating Josh Nephew (Section VIII, Beekmantown) 6-2.
Later that day, in the quarterfinals, LeBlanc was even more impressive against David Kohlbach (Section IV, Windsor), routing him 13-4 to leave the first day unblemished.
That blemish would come in Saturday's semifinal against Paul Paddock, a Section V competitor from Warsaw. Taking control early, Paddock would hold off LeBlanc's attempts at a rally for much of the match, forcing the M-E star to take a 7-2 defeat.
Paddock would go on to shut out Mike Gresh (Ripley) 11-0 to win the state title, and LeBlanc was far from finished, either.
Slotted into the consolation bracket, LeBlanc beat Josh Mateo (Waterloo) 15-6 and reached the third-place match against Section III rival Tyler Flath (General Brown), who got into the tournament with an at-large bid.
Here, just as at the Section III meet 13 days earlier at Utica Auditorium, LeBlanc would come out on top, beating Flath 6-1 and earning that third spot.
LeBlanc's fine effort helped Section III finish second among Division II teams with 286 points. Kyle Crisafulli (Phoenix, 96 pounds) Mike Kampnich (General Brown, 145 pounds) and Anthony Austin (Adirondack, 189 pounds) all won state championships.