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Obe Blanc joins North Carolina State wrestling as a volunteer coach

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Obe Blanc, a former Lock Haven and Oklahoma State wrestler who has made a name for himself as a freestyle wrestler, will be the new volunteer assistant coach at North Carolina State University, the Raleigh-based school announced Monday.

Blanc joins the Wolfpack mat staff headed up by Pat Popolizio, with assistants Frank Beasley and Jamill Kelly, according to the wrestling staff roster posted at the school's official website.

Obenson Blanc has been a member of Team USA since he finished his college career in 2009. The Florida native is currently ranked No. 1 at 55 kilos for USA Wrestling’s men’s freestyle team. In 2013, Blanc was both the U.S. World Team Trials and U.S. Open champion.

"Obe brings a lot of experience both on the National and International levels," said NC State head coach Popolizio. "His world-class wrestling will have a major impact on the development of our student-athletes on and off the mat.”

"Our goal is to produce NCAA Champions and All-Americans, as well as Olympic level athletes here at NC State,” Popolizio continued. “Obe's background will help this coaching staff develop athletes to reach the pinnacle of our sport."

The Wolfpack has produced a number of NCAA Division I champs over the years, most recently Nick Gwiazdowski, who won the heavyweight title at the 2014 NCAAs by knocking off defending two-time champ Tony Nelson of the University of Minnesota in the finals. Gwiazdowski became NC State’s third NCAA heavyweight champ, joining 1993 champ (and future pro wrestler and mixed martial arts competitor) Sylvester Terkay, and the late Tab Thacker, one of the largest heavyweights ever (tipping the scales at over 400 pounds), 1984 titlewinner and future actor (“Wildcats”, the “Police Academy” movie series). The only schools with more heavyweight champs: Oklahoma State, which can claim ten individuals who won a total of 15 titles, and Minnesota, where five wrestlers nabbed seven heavyweight titles.

Arguably the most famous NC State wrestler to win an NCAA title is Darrion Caldwell, who defeated Iowa’s Brent Metcalf in the 149-pound finals at the 2009 NCAAs. Wrestling historian Jay Hammond considered Caldwell vs. Metcalf as one of the three biggest upsets in NCAA finals history.

Prior to focusing on a freestyle career, Blanc started wrestling collegiately at Lock Haven, where he earned NCAA All-American honors by placing sixth at 125 pounds at the 2007 NCAAs. Blanc completed his college career at Oklahoma State, falling one win shy of earning All-America status at the 2009 NCAAs. In college, Blanc compiled a 118-41 overall record with 25 pins.

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