The wrestling program at Johnson & Wales University (Rhode Island) started 17 years ago. For 12 of those seasons, a Lenhardt family member has been on the roster. The four brothers, who have 10 other siblings, may not bear the typical look of successful wrestlers with their tall builds and gangly limbs. But they’ve defined themselves with a team-first drive and a knack for pinning and winning deep into the Division III championships. The youngest, Brenden, will compete in his senior season this year, capping a dynasty full of stories.
There’s the tale of Ryan as a freshman taking on Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s senior captain without his glasses — the thin and gangly Ryan could hardly see without them — and pinning the Tarzan-built opponent in 30 seconds flat. Or the legend of Colin, weeks after tearing his left anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments, earning his second All-America honor at the Division III championships.
But they’ll also leave a legacy as prolific pinners, using near- and far-side cradles, split scissors and spiders to pin their opponents in 46 percent of their combined 318 victories to leave behind a family name with enduring meaning. – Brian Hendrickson