An Open Letter to Pennsylvania Wrestling on DeSanto vs. Lee

Following the finals I tweeted out the news of Spencer Lee’s injury.

I was scrutinized for releasing the information on his injury directly after his first career loss which some took as a sleight of Austin DeSanto. My intentions were to provide news of the injury and not take anything away from the accomplishments of Austin DeSanto. Having known about the injury for several weeks there was much debate as to when was the most appropriate, if ever, a time to release that information.

Austin had no idea that Spencer Lee was injured and he still made the stunning decision to drop down and face the wrestler who tech-falled him in the State Finals a year ago. That in itself is a testament to his character. DeSanto would have been fairly favored at 132 lbs. to win a State Championship and many said he was giving up the chance to finish his career a PIAA State Champion. 

As Colton Dunkle pointed out on Twitter maybe I was bitter.

As humans, we all hold biases, both implicit and explicit. When it comes to Spencer Lee I am biased. I would be lying to say I was not upset or even stunned by what transpired on Saturday evening. Since I started covering and following the career of Spencer, back when he was a youth wrestler in Saegertown, I have formed a unique relationship with the decorated wrestler and his family. This is the reason why when Spencer qualified to compete in the UWW Junior World Championships, I wanted to document the journey and tell the story of Spencer and his rare life.    Obviously I had a dog in the fight but that shouldn’t take away from an incredible performance by a determined and brave Austin DeSanto. The way in which Austin conducted himself following the finals was remarkable. He has shown so much respect for Spencer Lee throughout both their careers and that resonated on Saturday night when speaking with him.

Both decisions, Austin’s to drop down and Spencer’s to push on, are impressive and should be celebrated. They will go down as two of Pennsylvania’s most impressive wrestlers regardless of what happens from this point forward.

They each have represented Pennsylvania Wrestling in the best way possible and I feel fortunate to have witnessed both compete over the last 4 years.


-Jeff Upson

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