Sports Odds and Ends
Obenson Blanc is one of 13 Black head coaches in Division I wrestling. Quincy Hulverson is the only Black wrestler for the Gophers this season—one of 667 Black wrestlers nationwide, eight percent of all Division I wrestlers.
A couple weeks ago, we spoke to both Blanc and Hulverson in separate interviews at the Minnesota-North Dakota State University dual meet at Maturi Pavilion on December 10.
After four seasons, the last two as associate HC, Blanc is the Bisons head coach. Prior to coming to Fargo, he spent five years as a North Carolina State assistant coach.
“It is the sport that really gave me a lot of opportunities, helped me strive for higher expectations and opportunities,” HC Blanc said.
Hulverson, a 125-pounder from Tea, South Dakota, is a redshirt freshman this season at Minnesota. He made his collegiate debut in 2022-23. The wrestler said he has been able to make weight thus far.
“I’m kind of small for 125,” noted the Gopher.
According to his folks, as a youngster Hulverson was “high energy” as a kid. “They wanted to throw me into a sport that took all that energy out, and made me calm down a little bit,” he recalled. “One of my youth coaches made me fall in love with the sport.”
Blanc, who wrestled in college at Lock Haven and Oklahoma State, made the NCAAs four straight years and compiled a 118-41 career record with 25 pins. “I think wrestling forces you to be so disciplined,” he said. “That really prepares you for life.”
Armed with a bachelor’s in sports administration from Lock Haven in 2008, and a master’s in international business from Oklahoma State in 2010, Blanc started coaching in 2013.
“I thought maybe I’d go into business,” he said, “but I enjoyed development and helping people grow, and it gives me a sense of purpose. I enjoy what I do.”
Both Blanc and Hulverson understand that seeing wrestlers and wrestling coaches that look like them is not what it could be. “There’s good numbers,” said the coach. “But I think it could be better. It’s a great character sport where it’s not about talent as much as about work ethic [and] discipline.
“I would really recommend wrestling to anyone,” said Blanc.
“I wouldn’t change it for the world,” said Hulverson, who is studying kinesiology with a career goal of becoming a physical therapist. “It’s been nice.”
Norfolk State junior forward Kierra Wheeler (Minneapolis) last week was named the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Offensive Player of the Week. The Robbinsdale Cooper grad averaged a double-double with 24 points and 14 rebounds for the week—33 points and 17 rebounds in an overtime win over High Point. And against Auburn, she had a 15-point, 11-rebound effort.
Wisconsin sophomore guard Ronnie Porter (St. Paul) snatched nine rebounds along with seven assists, four steals and 12 points, one of five Badgers in double figures in a win over Eastern Illinois last week.