Spencer Lee didn't leave East Lansing with the hardware that he (and we) really wanted him to get: a Big Ten Championship. But he also didn't leave empty-handed -- Lee was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year at the conclusion of the Big Ten Tournament yesterday.
— Hawkeye Wrestling (@Hawks_Wrestling) March 4, 2018
Lee tied Penn State's Nick Lee (no relation) as the highest-placing freshman at the Big Ten Tournament; both placed 3rd. Spencer Lee went 3-1 at Big Tens with a pin, technical fall, and major decision, while Nick Lee went 4-1 with three major decisions and a regular decision.
The Big Ten Tournament followed a strong debut season for Spencer Lee. To date he's gone 17-2 with bonus points in 14 of his 17 wins (82%), including seven pins (all in the first period) and six technical falls. That includes multiple wins over Top 10 wrestlers at 125 lbs, including a 3-2 dual meet win over four-time Big Ten champion Nathan Tomasello, a dominant 15-0 technical fall over NCAA and Big Ten runner-up Ethan Lizak, and a pair of win over Northwestern's Sebastian Rivera.
Spencer's only real competition for Big Ten Freshman of the Year was his fellow Lee, and while Nick Lee has had a very good season in his own right, it hasn't been quite as good as Spencer Lee's season to date. Nick Lee has gone 27-5 with bonus points in 23 of 27 wins (85%), including eight technical falls and five pins. He's gone just 1-3 against Top 10-caliber 141ers, though.
Congratulations to Spencer Lee on a well-deserved award from the Big Ten. Here's to hoping that he can come home from Cleveland in a few weeks with an even better accomplishment, though: an NCAA championship.
* As noted in the caption on that tweet, that sure is former Iowa linebacker AJ Edds handing the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award to Lee. Edds is working for the Big Ten as assistant director of sports administration and serves as a liaison for field hockey, women's swimming and diving, men's golf, and wrestling, while also supervising the conference tournament for men's ice hockey. So we may be seeing a lot more of Mr. Edds around various Big Ten events -- always nice to see a friendly face.