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Spencer Lee Helping Dan Dennis Train For Olympics

RossWB's picture
August 9, 2016 at 12:22pm

USA Today has a really good article up about Spencer Lee, top recruit in the 2017 class, future Hawkeye -- and Dan Dennis' training partner down in Rio. 

It’s a unique combination: Dennis, the 29-year-old who returned to wrestling in 2015 after a three-year retirement and had been living in a pickup trick, and Lee, the 16-year-old, three-time high school state champion and two-time junior world champion.

Of the 14 training partners selected by the U.S. Olympians for Rio, Lee is the lone high schooler.

Dennis and Lee met at training camp for the World Championships Team Trials in June 2015. Dennis finished second, signaling that he was back in the sport and became an instant contender for Rio.

A two-time All-American at Iowa, Dennis had retired after failing to make the 2012 Olympic team. He will wrestle in Rio in the 125.5 pound class (57 kilograms).

“He was big like 145 at the time and I was like 117,” Lee recalled. “He’s eating me up and I had no idea who he was. I called my dad and said, ‘Who’s Daniel Dennis?’ He said, ‘Don’t know, Spence.’

“He took a liking to me. He was really nice to me and he helped me a lot. I was doing everything I could to help him make the world team. We kept in touch.”

Beyond that, though, there's some great background on Lee if you're not familiar with him: 

He has just two international losses in the last four years. Overall, he has lost just five matches in the last five years, four in eighth grade and one after his sophomore year. In that sophomore loss, he fell in the Cadet World Championship trials at 119 pounds when he agreed to wrestle up in weight, but then came back a week later to win the Junior World Championship trials at 110 pounds.

As a high school wrestler at Franklin Regional (Murrysville, Pa.), he’s 109-0 and a two-time American Family Insurance ALL-USA First Team selection. Barring injury, he will enter the year as the favorite to be named ALL-USA Wrestler of the Year. He doesn’t know what weight class he will wrestle in as a senior but said he is planning to lift weights to get bigger for college.

I absolutely cannot wait to see him wrestle for Iowa.

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