U big man impresses at Duals

by Sarah Mitchell

Brock Lesnar prematurely earned legend status over the weekend, wrestling at the National Duals Tournament in Iowa City.
In his first real exposure to Division I collegiate wrestling faithfuls, the junior college transfer repeatedly caused mouths to drop almost as swiftly as he pancaked his opponents to the mat.
Oklahoma State’s Todd Munson was Lesnar’s final victim of the two-day event. As the 6-foot-4 and nearly 270-pound mass of muscle stripped away his warm-ups during Sunday’s championship match, fear must have left even the fans cowering.
“I wouldn’t know what to think of him if I were seeing him for the first time,” Gophers senior Josh Holiday said.
This was the fourth time in the tournament that spectators at Carver-Hawkeye Arena beheld Lesnar’s Herculean limbs, but their reaction was no different than the initial shock. Cowboys coach John Smith gave Munson the task of slowing Lesnar down after benching No. 16 Dave Anderton and his 0-3 tournament record.
During the first period, No. 9 Lesnar rammed his right shoulder into Munson’s stomach and lifted his opponent off the mat. Dangling over Lesnar’s shoulder, Munson had no way of bailing.
With Hawkeyes and Cowboys fans both razzing him, Lesnar held the Cowboys heavyweight airborne for quite some time, looking for a way to gently acquaint Munson with the mat. Munson survived, but that victory was short-lived. Fifty-four seconds into the second period, Munson was pinned.
“There’s more to come, I guess,” Lesnar said of his showing. “This is just the beginning.”
Lesnar flattened all four of his tournament opponents with similar style, three of the pins occurring during the opening period. One fall ranks as Lesnar’s career highlight.
The Gophers’ third-round draw was a classic match-up. Minnesota faced the hometown Hawkeyes with the right to advance to the championship match weighing solely on the heavyweight battle.
Midway through the first period, the newcomer scooped up No. 2 Wes Hand, throwing him to the outside of the mat before scoring a takedown. Hawkeyes backers were silenced, realizing it was only a matter of time before their pride of a heavyweight would fall. Hand was pinned at 2:36.
“It’s got to burn. It’s got to hurt, especially after last year,” Lesnar said, referring to the 1998 National Duals championship match when Gophers heavyweight Shelton Benjamin pinned Hand to edge Iowa by one point. “But you can’t blame me, I guess. That’s just my job.”
And so less than two weeks after becoming eligible as a Division I wrestler, Lesnar has acquired Minnesota’s distaste for black and gold and disposed of some of the nation’s best wrestlers.
Lesnar owns a 7-1 record, but based on his performance over the weekend, the lone defeat could be labeled as a freak accident.
“Only if I let them,” Lesnar said, describing what his opponent needs to do to reverse the roles. “I’d have to get caught in the wrong position.”
Luckily for the Gophers, Lesnar’s hunger on the mat is as healthy as his appetite.
“I’ve seen him eat. He’s always eating,” Holiday said. “He eats like a monster.”