Luke Blanton Takes Big 10 Wrestler of the Week Honors
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. â€“ The Big Ten Conference announced Tuesday the winner of this week's Big Ten Wrestler of the Week honor. Indiana sophomore Luke Blanton (149) picked up his first career weekly award.
Blanton had one of the best weekends of his young Indiana career. On December 11, at 20th-ranked Minnesota, Blanton came from behind to upset No. 10 Jake Short in the penultimate bout of the dual. Blanton was behind 6-4 after two periods, then surged ahead with an 11-4 third round in his favor. Blanton sealed the win with a clutch takedown and a two-point nearfall on the edge of the mat with 30 seconds remaining. The win also lifted Indiana to a 19-18 team win over Minnesota, their first Big Ten dual win since 2011.
On Sunday, December 13, the Hoosiers took on Eastern Michigan, a team on the brink of cracking the national top 25. Indiana battled to a hard-earned 25-9 win over the Eagles, highlighted by Blanton's win over No. 16 Nicholas Barber in the 149 lbs. bout. Blanton took the dual win on a 4-0 decision, in which the Hoosier displayed excellent defensive work.
With this award, Blanton becomes the first Hoosier this season to win the Big Ten Wrestler of the Week honor. He's the first Hoosier to win the award since NCAA runner-up Taylor Walsh (December 31, 2014).
The pair of wins garnered national recognition for Blanton. He rose to the No. 20 spot in the latest Asics FloRankings, and sits at 29th in the latest Dual Impact Index polls.
After a strong 3-0 weekend, Indiana earned their first national rankings of the season. The Hoosiers are 20th in the latest InterMat team dual rankings, and 22nd in the USA Today/NWCA Coaches Poll.
The Hoosiers return to action on Sunday, December 20, when they'll take part in the Reno Tournament of Champions in Reno, Nev.
2015-16 Wrestlers of the Week
Nov. 3 Nathan Tomasello, So., OSU
Nov. 10 Brett Pfarr, Jr., MINN
Nov. 17 Sammy Brooks, Jr., IOWA
Nov. 24 Bo Nickal, Fr., PSU
Dec. 1 Isaiah Martinez, So., ILL
Dec. 8 Micah Jordan, Fr., OSU
Dec. 15 Luke Blanton, So., IND