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The Legacy of Spencer Lee

The Legacy of Spencer Lee

(Spencer Lee is a 3x NCAA Champion and 2x Hodge Trophy Winner)

Iowa City, IA Spencer Lee is a household name for wrestling fans throughout the world, and for good reason: he is considered one of the best pound for pound wrestlers in the country.  Throughout his college years, Spencer has amassed an outstanding career, treating wrestling fans with a level of dominance that will perhaps only occur once in a generation. Spencer dared to dream and trained to be a four-time national champion. Such a goal has only been reached by five other wrestlers in NCAA history. It was a goal that, for Spencer, was missed during his semi-finals this year. 

(Spencer Lee prepares for his match)

Career Highlights

Lee will always be known for his tremendous work ethic, technical skill, mental toughness, superior condition, and relentless attacks.

Lee is a three-time national champion and a two-time Hodge Trophy winner, receiving it outright in 2020 and sharing it with Minnesota HWT Gable Steveson in 2021. He also earned the AAU James E. Sullivan Award in 2022, becoming the fifth wrestler to win it.

(Spencer Lee wrestles Jack Medley from University of Michigan)

Going into the NCAA Championships, Spencer had a 95-5 career record. Out of his record, 38 of his wins had ended in the first period, including 11 falls in under one minute. These wins accounted for 34 total falls, 32 of which were technical falls. Eleven of the tech falls were under a minute. Ten were registered in the first period, and 15 major decisions were made, giving him 81 total bonus-point wins. He also had a 55-match winning streak, the 8th longest in the history of the Hawkeye program dating back to the 2019 NCAA Championships. Only six Hawkeye wrestlers have ever won 60-plus matches in a row. During this current 55-match win streak, Spencer outscored his opponents by a staggering 648-73.

This season Spencer had a total score of 17-0 with 15 bonus-point wins. Out of these, he had 8 pins, 4 technical falls, and 3 major decisions. Lee was 15-0 in his previous three NCAA tournament appearances, during which he recorded 3 pins, 4 technical falls, and 4 major decisions. He outscored those 15 opponents 176-21. In Lee’s 95 career wins, he has recorded 31 wins over All-Americans, including two national champions, and another 43 wins over NCAA qualifiers. 

Spencer had only been taken down 30 times, total, in his college career by just 15 different opponents. In the NCAAs, Spencer had only been taken down 5 times, when he was wrestling with no ACLs during his Junior year. In all, Spencer has scored 76 total team points in three NCAA tournament appearances, 27 in 2018, then 24.5 in both 2019 and 2021. Only three wrestlers have scored a combined 100 team points across four NCAA tournaments.



The longevity of dominance that Spencer Lee has accomplished in collegiate wrestling will be hard to replicate.

(Spencer Lee focuses intently ahead as he approaches the mat)

He performed at such a level of consistent excellence that he ultimately redefined the standard of his weight class with sheer dominance.  With two torn ACLs, Spencer competed at the highest level with significantly less than 100% of his total ability. Most experts would consider this to be an insurmountable challenge that few, if any, would dare to endure. Despite those formidable odds, fueled by dedication to his team and their respective goals, Lee sacrificed his body en-route to winning a key national title. This accomplishment returned Iowa to national prominence, identifying him as the catalyst that helped the Hawkeyes win their first NCAA team title in ten years. 

(Spencer Lee wrestles his opponent)

Through sustained injuries and the heartbreak of an unfulfilled dream, Spencer hasn’t lost faith. He continues to strive for his goals of pioneer-level achievement. He will be remembered, not only for his technical superiority, but also for strength of will. Spencer’s legacy is now cemented as one of the best collegiate wrestlers in American history. In the next stage of his international wrestling journey, wrestling fans can expect the same level of vigor and commitment from Spencer.

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