Spencer Lee Falls Short of Pennsylvania Wrestling History

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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.

About the Author:

Owner & Operator of PA Power Wrestling • 2015 PA Wrestling "Person of the Year" • Former Central Dauphin Wrestler

4 Comments

  1. Adam 03/11/2017 at 11:22 pm - Reply

    I was at the Giant Center and it was very obvious from the start that we weren’t seeing the real Spencer Lee on the mat. He was backing up the whole match. I was shocked he didn’t get tagged for stalling. I knew his knee must’ve been worse than anyone knew. And yet he still found a way to stay in the match against a great wrestler like DeSanto. Technically, he actually won the match. The takedown was clearly after time expired and pictures of the clock at zero and DeSanto’s position are unequivocal proof of that. DeSanto was the better wrestler tonight, it’s just such a shame Spencer wasn’t healthy and the no stalling and late takedown were so controversial.

  2. Sheriff 03/11/2017 at 11:52 pm - Reply

    Great story. We need a vision quest story for DeSanto!

  3. Miguel Perez 03/12/2017 at 9:58 am - Reply

    Lee lost. If he was injured he shouldn’t of wrestled. He was hurt, so he competed. DeSantos won. Write about his plight. Lee has had enough ink. Time for someone else to get the press.

  4. Suzanne Scott 03/12/2017 at 12:31 pm - Reply

    Spencer Lee is an amazing young man and undoubtedly a legend in the sport of wrestling at such a young age. He demonstrated enormous grit and determination despite a devastating knee injury. We wish him the best as he pursues his future goals at Iowa. – the Scott Family

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