Pair of Minnesota wrestlers fuel success

Like most siblings, Jared and Brett Lawrence wrestled each other every day when they were growing up. But unlike other families, these two brothers benefited from the beatings they dished out to each other.
Today, Jared and Brett make up one-fifth of the second-ranked Gophers wrestling team. But the brothers’ careers start long before Minnesota. They start when the Lawrences were fooling around the house.
“All we did was screw around and wrestle,” said Brett, a junior who is ranked 11th nationally at 133 pounds.
“We’d be watching TV and an ad comes on. I would jump on him from behind. That’s kinda where we got into it,” added Jared, a freshman and the nation’s fifth-ranked wrestler at 149.
Most parents might try to separate the two troublemakers — but not Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence.
“They just gave up after awhile,” Brett said. “Dad would sometimes sit there and watch.”
Now the two are teammates, and instead of pushing each other around, they push each other to succeed.
Jared, a freshman, has stepped in to be one of the top wrestlers on the Gophers.
Minnesota coach J Robinson said Jared’s influence on the team has been huge, especially because he’s a first-year wrestler.
“For the younger guys it’s great to have a Tim Hartung as an example,” Robinson said. “But sometimes it’s hard to relate to a guy who has been so successful, especially as a freshman.”
That’s where Jared comes in to fuel his fellow young teammates.
“To see a wrestler be ranked fifth, to beat a guy who is second, (other freshmen) can look over and say, ‘Hey, this guy is the same age as me. If he can do it, I can do it,'” Robinson said.
But Jared doesn’t take much credit for giving his team a spark, he credits his older brother instead for helping him off the mats.
“When I have a bad day the person I can always go to is him,” Jared said. “He’s someone there I can always talk to.”
And that support continues on the mats as well, especially during meets, when the brothers need each other most.
And with the Gophers as a team ranked so high, the brothers pushing each other helps the team succeed.
“If we’re at a tournament, I usually wrestle before him,” Brett said. “When I’m done with my match I don’t even get dressed, I pick myself up and run over to support him.”
But Robinson said the support offered to Brett from Jared is important as well. Robinson added that Jared’s presence on the team has rejuvenated Brett’s career.
After an impressive high school career, Brett was sparingly used his first two years at Minnesota. But now the junior is an every-match starter.
“Once you’re successful you’ll always have that (confidence), but you have to sometimes find it,” Robinson said. “Brett is finding that with his brother here.”
Either way the support travels, the pair draw off of each other. That’s something Robinson said has really developed both of their careers.
Especially for a sport like wrestling, where close-knit relationships help individuals more than other team sports.
“A lot of times brothers work out with brothers, so they have a different kind of bonding then in football or basketball,” Robinson said. “Wrestling is more of an intimate sport.”
While wrestling isn’t the type of sport usually thought of as one that brings people together, Jared says the brothers’ experience has been a valuable one.
“Out of a lot of sports, wrestling teams are the ones that bond the most because what they go through and the contact they’re in,” Jared said. “I think the two of us wrestling together has brought us a lot closer as brothers.”

John R. Carter covers wrestling and baseball and welcomes comments at [email protected]