By Pete Ruden
CLEVELAND — In just his true freshman season, Spencer Lee is an NCAA champion.
Lee picked up his gold medal by beating Nick Suriano of Rutgers, 5-1, in the finals at the NCAA Championships on March 17.
It was nearly a scoreless first period, but Lee got in on Suriano, and despite almost letting him get free, secured the 2 points with just under five seconds remaining in the period.
Lee gained a point for an escape in the second and put the match on ice with another takedown in the third.
“I don’t know if it’s really set in,” Lee said. “I got to hug my teammates and my family. That was an awesome feeling. I got the best teammates in the world. And 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.”
The win caps an incredible run for Lee, who scored bonus points in every match except the finals. On his way to gold, Lee defeated Chatanooga’s Alonzo Allen (tech fall at 1:41), Purdue’s Luke Welch (tech fall at 3:59), Oklahoma State’s Nicholas Piccininni (pin at 3:58), and Ohio State’s Nathan Tomasello (pin at 6:05).