HERSHEY: Spencer is no stranger to success while injured. He won a Cadet World Freestyle Championship with a badly bruised rib in 2014 and a year later he won a Junior World Championship with a torn labrum.
This time around it was a torn ACL.
The majority of humans have a hard time functioning with a muscle tear in the knee but Spencer is an outlier. He has been dealing with the injury since the last week in January and as a precaution was held out of the WPIAL Dual Team Semifinals against Kiski Area. In the consolation finals against North Allegheny, with just two bouts remaining in the dual, Spencer told head coach Matt Lebe “I’m wrestling.” He bumped up two weight classes going out at 138 lbs. but received a forfeit. That is the type of teammate and leader Spencer is on the mat for the Panthers. Despite an unknown knee injury Lee saw the chance to help contribute to his team’s chances of advancing into the PIAA Dual Team Championship.
That week Spencer had the injury looked at by three different medical professionals in the region. After a Lachman’s exam, to determine if there was a sprain or tear of the ACL, doctors felt confident there was no significant issue.
Despite the prognosis something still felt off and as a result his father Larry Lee sent Spencer to see Pittsburgh Steelers surgeon Dr. James Bradley, who ordered an MRI. When the results came back he was surprised, to say the least, to find a torn ACL. Larry explained how doctors who examined Spencer were astonished at how “freakishly strong” his other three muscles were in the knee.
Spencer knew he had to finish what he set out to do so many years ago: end his high school career an undefeated 4x Pennsylvania State Champion. Spencer did not want his career to end in a doctor’s office instead of the mat.
So that is why Spencer elected to put his legacy as the greatest high school wrestler of all time on the line Saturday night in the GIANT Center.