MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The state wrestling tournament began Thursday and junior Lance Benick from Totino-Grace will be going for his third straight title. And as the No. 1 ranked wrestler in his weight class in the nation, he knows he’s the guy to beat.
“I don’t feel too much pressure, but it’s kind of like a target on your back my parents always say,” says Benick. “You are going to get everybody’s best match.”
Seventeen-year-old Benick wrestles at 195 pounds and is undefeated this season. He’s won multiple national titles and is eyeing a much bigger stage down the road.
“I want to be an Olympic champ,” Benick said. “It’s the thing I love to do and it’s what I want to do with my life.”
Benick calls his training methods non-traditional.
“I don’t really go for runs or have a really healthy diet. I’m a really picky eater. I don’t like vegetables or anything,” he said, laughing.
What he does do is seek out college and professional wrestlers to go up against, which is part of what his coach says has made him exceptional.
“I tell you he’s a humble kid,” head coach Doug Svihel said. “It’s amazing how grounded he is. His mom and dad have really raised a fine young man.”
He’s a grounded young man who says his life off the mat helps him keep perspective. Several years ago, Benick’s mom was diagnosed with brain cancer. His mom’s battle has taught him something.
“She’s just a big motivator for me and helps me forget about things,” Benick said. “Cherish the moments you’re in and never look too far in the future.”
When Benick’s on the mat, he’s striving for his best and living in every moment.
“It’s no worries when you’re on the mat. It’s just you versus your opponent. Nothing else matters really and it’s doing the thing that I love,” Benick said.
Benick already has several college wrestling programs trying to recruit him. He wouldn’t tell us which ones and since he’s a junior, he has some time to decide.
Benick says his mom is doing really well right now.