Twelve long months ago, Morrisville-Eaton wrestler Ryan LeBlanc came within a couple of victories of notching a state Division II championship.
Now LeBlanc, in his junior campaign, has earned a chance to go all the way, as he dominated the 160-pound weight class during last Saturday's Section III championship meet at Cicero-North Syracuse to advance to the March 8-9 state meet at Blue Cross Arena in Rochester.
For the entire Warrior team, it proved to be a fine effort, as M-E finished with 84.5 points and took sixth place in a deep field of more than 30 squads. Phoenix (153 points) held off Watertown IHC (126.5 points) for the team title.
As for LeBlanc, he is merely following in the illustrious path blazed by his two older brothers, Treavor and Paul, both of whom reached multiple state meets, with Paul taking a state title at 140 pounds in 2005.
Going into the sectional meet as the top seed, LeBlanc would have little trouble adding three more victories to his ledger, improving his record to 39-2.
After a first-round bye, LeBlanc methodically took out Ilion's Jon Treen, needing just 2:24 to secure the 15-point margin necessary for a technical fall.
Moving on to the semifinals, LeBlanc met Tyler Mann, from Holland Patent, and spent even less time on the mat, taking just 25 seconds to pin Mann and move to the finals.
In the evening title match, Little Falls' John Wratten stood in the way -- but not for long. Piling up points in six minutes of clinical work, LeBlanc beat Wratten 19-5, giving himself a second consecutive chance at a state championship.
Of course, LeBlanc was just one of six M-E wrestlers in the sectional meet, and every one of them would earn a top-six finish and a spot on the awards podium.