Photos by Tech-Fall.com
Kirk Smith didn't stray far from home when he made his college choice, sticking around his native Boise, Idaho to wrestle for Greg Randall's Boise State Broncos. He was one of the stars of his incoming class.
Joe LeBlanc, however, wasn't on the radar for many of the nation's big-time programs. From tiny Meeker, Colo., in the northwest corner of the state, LeBlanc didn't wait very long to burst on to the college wrestling scene.
Coming into the season, the western combatants are ranked 1-2 and will be the second announced matchup of top-ranked wrestlers when the 2010 NWCA All-Star Classic presented by The Marines at Selland Arena in Fresno, Calif., on November 21.
Both wrestlers come in as two-time All-Americans. Smith was a national finalist last year, while LeBlanc, a junior, earned his second medal in as many years.
The two have met three times previously, twice in 2009-10 and once last season. Smith holds a 3-0 advantage. Smith, a senior, bested LeBlanc by major decision both times two seasons ago, but won by a slim 3-2 margin last season.
Smith reached the finals of the 2010 NCAA Division I Championships after failing to place as a sophomore. Smith was the top seed in the tournament and finished the season an impressive 29-1.
LeBlanc finished fourth in 2010 and fifth in 2009 and wrapped up last season with a 39-6 mark. He's won over 80 matches in his first two years under Mark Branch at the University of Wyoming.
Smith will be seventh Bronco wrestler to compete in the event and second announced for the 2010 event. Andrew Hochstrasser was announced last week to compete against Jordan Oliver of Oklahoma State at 133 pounds.
LeBlanc is only the second Wyoming wrestler to compete. Reese Andy wrestled in the event twice, in 1995 and 1996.
The 45th Annual NWCA All-Star Classic Presented by The Marines will be held at the Selland Arena in Fresno, California on Sunday, November 21, 2010. The doors open at 2:00 p.m. The All-Star Classic follows a weekend of fundraising events. For more information about the tournament, purchasing tickets and the fundraising events, visit the www.nwcaonline.com's event page.
To donate to the effort to save collegiate wrestling programs, visit http://nwca.ticketleap.net.2010 NWCA All-Star Classic Presented by the Marines
Rankings by W.I.N. Magazine
133- #1 Jordan Oliver, So. (Oklahoma St.) vs. #2 Andrew Hochstrasser, Sr. (Boise St.)
149- #4 Torsten Gillespie, Jr. (Edinboro) vs. #5 Kevin LeValley, Sr. (Bucknell)
174- #3 Jordan Blanton, Sr. (Illinois) vs. #6 Nick Amuchastegui, Jr. (Stanford)
184- #1 Kirk Smith, Sr. (Boise St.) vs. #2 Joe LeBlanc, Jr. (Wyoming)
285- #2 Jarod Trice, Jr. (Central Michigan) vs. #4 Alan Gelogaev, Jr. (Oklahoma St.)
Exhibitions:About California USA Wrestling
California USA Wrestling is a non-profit organization committed to the success and health of their athletes and dedicated to the promotion and preservation of collegiate and international styles of amateur wrestling. As the official California affiliate of USA Wrestling, the national governing board for international-style amateur wrestling in the United States, the club is responsible for the organization and execution of sanctioned USA Wrestling events in the state. California USA Wrestling educates the community about the styles of wrestling and the value of being involved in the sport. They strive to provide fun, exciting and well-planned events and improve the quality of California wrestling at the competitive level. For more information, visit www.ca-usaw.org.About NWCA
The National Wrestling Coaches Association, established in 1928, is a professional organization dedicated to supporting and elevating the sport of amateur wrestling. NWCA provides leadership and guidance primarily to scholastic and collegiate wrestling programs, but is an advocate to all levels of wrestling. The NWCA promotes communication, recognizes achievement, recommends rules and regulations, sponsors events and serves as a resource for education and information pertaining to the sport of wrestling. Additionally, The NWCA strives to foster the sportsmanship and integrity that are the cornerstones of any competitive sport. For more information, visit http://www.nwcaonline.com.