Cole VonOhlen Named WWC Freshman of the Year
April 1, 2010
LARAMIE, Wyo. - Air Force rookie Cole VonOhlen was honored by the Western Wrestling Conference, as it announced its 2009-10 postseason award winners on Thursday. VonOhlen was the unanimous pick as the Freshman of the Year, while Wyoming's Joe LeBlanc and Northern Iowa's Brad Penrith were named WWC Wrestler of the Year and Coach of the Year, respectively.
The Wrestler of the Year and Freshman of the Year awards were voted on by the league's head coaches this past week, while the Coach of the Year balloting was determined after the NCAA West Regional.
VonOhlen, a native of Jackson, Minn., was the Falcons' standout performer during the 2009-10 season, finishing as the West Regional runner-up at 141 pounds to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships. He concluded the season with a 31-9 overall record (.775 winning percentage), including a 13-2 dual mark and 5-1 record in WWC duals.
He recorded a team-best 12 falls on the year, along with six major decisions and a technical fall. VonOhlen posted six wins over NCAA qualifiers, including a 17-2 technical fall over Cal State Fullerton's Adin Duenas (ranked 11th at the end of the regular season) and a 10-0 decision against Cal State Bakersfield's Elijah Nacita (ranked 13th). Meanwhile, eight of his nine losses came by decision, and all came against NCAA qualifiers (including one to NCAA Division II runner-up Mario Morgan of UNO). His lone major decision loss was a 12-4 victory by All-American Mike Thorn of Minnesota.
VonOhlen began his freshman campaign with an individual title in the Elite Division of the Cowboy Open and placed sixth at the Kaufman-Brand Open after suffering an injury during the meet. He also secured a fifth-place finish at the prestigious Southern Scuffle, while winning the 141-lb. title at the All-Academy Championships, recording three falls in as many matches.
A two-time WWC Wrestler of the Week, VonOhlen became the first Air Force freshman to qualify for the national tournament since 2005, as well as the first Falcon to reach 30 wins in a single season since 2005. He was recently named the 2009-10 DICollegeWrestling.net West Region Freshman of the Year.
LeBlanc, the WWC Freshman of the Year in 2009, earned WWC Wrestler of the Year honors after earning All-America distinction at 184 pounds for the second-straight year. A two-time West Regional champion, LeBlanc placed fourth at the 2010 NCAA Championships and finished his season with a 39-6 overall record. Meanwhile, Penrith was named WWC Coach of the Year for the second time in four years after guiding the Panthers to a second-place finish at the NCAA West Regional.