LeBlanc win second straight state title

One could argue that the entire weight of Section III wrestling hung on Ryan LeBlanc's able shoulders when the Morrisville-Eaton senior took to the mat Saturday night in the 160-pound state Division II championship match at Albany's Times Union Center.

If so, then LeBlanc proved quite capable of the task, prevailing in his quest to become the first M-E wrestler to ever win two state titles and just the ninth multiple state champion in Section III's annals.

When LeBlanc beat Windsor's David Kohlbach 4-2 in the title match, he finished his high school career with exactly 200 wins and, at the same time, prevented Section III from being completely shut out of the top spot on the state championship podium.

From the moment the final match started, LeBlanc was the aggressor, forcing Kohlbach to retreat. A quick takedown gave LeBlanc a 2-0 lead, though Kohlbach did escape to make it 2-1 by the end of the first period.

Choosing to start on the bottom in the second period, LeBlanc escaped to make it 3-1, then spent much of the next two periods keeping Kohlbach on the defensive.

That proved decisive when, in the third period, Kohlbach got penalized a point for stalling, building LeBlanc's lead to 4-1. Although Kohlbach made a late escape, LeBlanc held on and had back-to-back state titles, having not lost in any of the 43 matches he participated in this winter.

To return to the championship match, LeBlanc, a senior going to Indiana University to continue his mat exploits, had to do something three times that he rarely worried about in the regular season -- namely, go all six minutes.

In Friday afternoon's opening round against Josh Becker (Salamanca), LeBlanc piled up early points and cruised the rest of the way, beating Becker 9-5.

Later that night, in the quarterfinals, LeBlanc met Batavia's Troy Ireland and got all of the points he needed in the first period, using those as a lifeboat to beat Ireland 5-1 and move on to Saturday's action.

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