Golden Boy: True Freshman Spencer Lee Soars to the Top in Cleveland

CLEVELAND – You wouldn’t be able to tell based on his walk out music – the theme song to Pokémon, but Spencer Lee is good at wrestling – even if he enjoys catching them all. When asked if anything surprises him, Spencer never thought he would actually select that as a walk out song.

“I didn’t think I would ever walk out to the Pokémon theme song, but — that was the plan if I made the NCAA finals. And I chose to do it.”

Well at least World and Olympic Champion Jordan Burroughs thought it was cool.

It’s also hard to believe that a little over twelve months ago Spencer Lee was in a much different place – both physically and mentally. He tore his ACL just before the Pennsylvania individual postseason – but that didn’t stop him from attempting to make history. Instead, Spencer Lee ended his high school career with his first loss, falling short of an undefeated career, and fourth State title.

He departed the Keystone State to begin a career in Iowa with the first priority of getting healthy. If you thought Spencer Lee was down and out – you were mistaken.

“You know my motto: You get punched in the face; you get up and you hit them back again. After losing, the plan was, get my knee healthy, and then got my redshirt pulled, to make a run to an NCAA title. And coaches believed in me and my family and friends and teammates believed in me. And that’s why I’m here.”

The word many people are using to describe Spencer Lee this weekend – special. It is obvious fans are watching a unique wrestler who will be entertaining the masses for years to come. It showed in the finals against Nick Suriano, despite a slow and cautious start to an eventual 5-0 victory over the New Jersey native. In typical Spencer Lee fashion, the Franklin Regional graduate wasn’t satisfied with only scoring five points.

“I didn’t really score that much, did I? Was it five points? I don’t know if that’s really a lot of points. But the whole thing was building your lead. And coaches wanted me to keep him down. Kind of wished I’d kept him down now. But it was just continuing — offensive mindset was basically the whole game plan.”

Watching Spencer throughout the 2018 NCAA Tournament, he makes winning look almost easy, however, it has been a long and bumpy road since February 2017. From getting his knee back to 100%, easing back into the training cycle, and dealing with the uncertainty of having his redshirt pulled or not, Spencer has been on a rollercoaster of emotions.

“I think originally just coming back in practice. And I’m not saying I lost my feel, but not being able to use your knee for quite a while, it was a little different getting back on the mat. The coaching staff did an amazing job making sure I was ready to go. Look, I’ve got my brace off this week, right? They’re really careful. They want to make sure everything they did was the best decision for me, and that’s why my redshirt was pulled as well.”

World Champion, State Champion, and now National Champion, Spencer has succeeded on every stage he’s touched.

“I don’t know if it’s really set in. I got to hug my teammates and my family. That was an awesome feeling. I got the best teammates in the world. Kemerer and Sorensen and Marinelli, they’re great leaders and I can name the whole team. They did a good job of making me believe in myself and I think that’s why I’m here.”

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