Spencer Lee Answers Questions from Young Guns


Allen Catour, Writer

2x NCAA champion Spencer Lee answered questions for Young Guns wrestlers on April 11. Lee wrestles at 125 pounds for the Iowa Hawkeyes and is one of the best wrestlers in the country, as he recently won the Hodge Trophy. Young Guns is a wrestling club based in Illinois and Pennsylvania. Both coaches are former Iowa wrestlers. Eric Juergens, a 2x NCAA champ, coaches Young Guns in Illinois. Jody Strittmatter, a 2x All-American for Iowa, coaches in Pennsylvania. Lee, a native of Pennsylvania, was coached by Strittmatter when he wrestled for Young Guns.

Due to the corona virus, Young Guns practices have shut down. The club decided to start a virtual training program online that allows Young Guns wrestlers to continue training. The online sessions consist of strength and conditioning workouts, breakdown of technique, and guest speakers.

The wrestlers got the opportunity last Friday to go online with Spencer Lee and ask questions.

One of the first questions asked was about the NCAA Championships. The national tournament got canceled due to the pandemic. Lee, the #1 seed at 125 pounds, was favored to win his third championship. Many fans speculated that he’d be the fifth college wrestler to win four national titles. Now, the junior won’t be able to accomplish that feat. Lee also wrestles freestyle in his hopes to make the Olympic team and win an Olympic medal. That opportunity also got taken away from him, at least for this year.

“All we can do is focus on the next best thing. For me, it was the Olympic Trials. I was getting ready for that immediately. I was working on freestyle when they also canceled the trials just two days later. The virus took a lot away from me, but what I can control is how hard I work and how I let it affect me,” Lee remarks.

It’s hard to stay motivated during the quarantine. Excuses come quickly to people, but a strong support group motivates you. Lee takes great pride in his support system. After almost every big match, he’s quick to mention them and how much they’ve helped him.

“To me, it’s always been family, friends, teammates, and coaches. I wouldn’t be where I’m at without my support network. They’re always trying to help me improve. Coach Tom and Terry Brands call me almost every day and give me workouts to do,” Lee mentions.

Lee told himself when he was younger that one day he’d wrestle for either Cary Kolat or Terry Brands. When choosing where to go to college, Iowa was the perfect fit for him.

“I liked the camaraderie of the team. I knew the guys that were in my class and the class above and below me. I knew they’d make Iowa what it could be. I also couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be coached by Terry Brands. I knew they had a history of great lightweights and solid partners.”

When watching any of Lee’s matches, the thing that most notably sticks out is his ability to begin matches quickly and score points. Often, opponents were unable to get out of the first period.

“All I’m thinking about is scoring. I see things that are open and take it. Before every match, I think to myself hard, smart, takedown, turn. I’m very calm, so I need a fired up presence in the corner so I can hear them and be ready to go,” Lee states.

The Young Guns Club has been benefiting from the virtual training sessions. Adding guest speakers to the training sessions has been a great addition to the program. The opportunity to go live with Spencer Lee and be able to ask him questions is an experience they will never forget.