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SPENCER LEE WINS NATIONAL TITLE

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Lee beats Suriano (rutger), 5-1

NCAA Wrestling: DI Wrestling Championships Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Spencer Lee came out to the Pokémon theme song.

If you’ll take a trip down memory lane with me, these are the first couple lines:

I wanna be the very best

Like no one ever was

To catch them is my real test

To train them is my cause

I will travel across the land

Searching far and wide

Each Pokemon to understand

The power that’s inside

I absolutely love the choice.

And, well, he is the best, after beating rutger wrestler Nick Suriano 5-1 in the 125-pound championship to take the NCAA title as a true freshman. He’s the first Iowa true freshman to do so since Lincoln McIlravy in 1993.

I’m not going to pretend to know why Lee specifically picked this song, but it’s perfect. Lee has won state titles. Lee has won world titles. And, now, Lee has won a national title. The dude is just a freshman, y’all. He’s on a mission and I’m just happy to be here and see what can do.

Will he be like “no one ever was” ?

Well, he’s off to a helluva start. After two tech falls and two pins to start the tournament, he finishes things off with a 5-1 win that really, honestly, wasn’t even close. The match felt over when Lee scored a late takedown in the first period.

He followed it up with an escape to start the second and then another takedown in the third.

It was wonderful cap on a spectacular season for Lee, who has a chance to go down as one of the best ever in Iowa history. Yes, he is just a freshman... but he’s a freshman with a national title.

It’s funny. Early on in the season, I was really wondering why Tom and Co. decided to pull his redshirt. I didn’t exactly think it was foolish... but I was surprised. If my memory is correct, the only other time a freshman had their redshirt pulled under Brands was Nathan Burak.

It was, in part, a maturity thing. Burak is one of the nicest, most thoughtful people you’ll ever meet. I understood that decision.

I’ve never met Lee, and probably never will, but before the NCAA Finals, there was a clip of him talking about his mom, who is apparently an expert in judo. Lee took her down during a high school wrestling practice.

She then put him in a submission hold moments later, in front of all his fellow wrestlers.

I think it was how he recalled the story, and maybe it’s because I’ve listened to a couple interviews, or because I know his achievements, but for whatever reason it just all the sudden made sense to me why Brands decided to pull the redshirt.

Spencer Lee was ready for this moment.