Spencer Lee (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)
Spencer Lee, a three-time age group world champion who just completed a stellar first year at University of Iowa as 125-pound NCAA champ, has been named 2018 InterMat Freshman of the Year, the amateur wrestling website announced Friday.
This award, presented each year since 2006 to best college freshman wrestler in all divisions for his/her college wrestling performance during the 2017-18 season, is based exclusively on the balloting of writers and executives at InterMat prior to the announcement of other national wrestling awards. Each staff member is asked to select five freshman wrestlers and rank them from first to fifth. Point values are assigned to each placement, ranging from one point to a wrestler listed fifth on a voter's ballot, up to nine points for a first-place vote.
Spencer Lee was listed at the top of seven ballots out of 10 submitted by InterMat staffers, for a total of 84 votes. The other freshman who received first-place votes was Yianni Diakomihalis of Cornell University, with three first-place votes for a total of 76 to place second in the overall balloting.
Lee, a three-time Pennsylvania high school state champ (who suffered just one loss in his prep career in his very last match at the 2017 PIAA finals), stunned many in the wrestling world by choosing Iowa. He took advantage of the redshirt, competing unattached at tournaments in the first couple months with the Hawkeyes ... until Iowa head coach Tom Brands decided to "burn" Lee's redshirt for a Jan. 5 dual versus Michigan State. Once free of the redshirt, Lee then posted perfect 8-0 record in dual competition, and 6-0 vs. Big Ten rivals ... leading the team in overall winning percentage (.917, with a 22-2 record), fastest fall (40 seconds) and technical falls (8).
After placing third at the 2018 Big Ten Championships in the 125-pound bracket, Lee really rocked that weight class at the 2018 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in Cleveland, scoring team bonus points in four out of his five matches, defeating another former prep phenom, Nick Suriano of Rutgers, in the finals, 5-1.
2018 InterMat Freshman of the Year Voting Results
1st-5th Place Votes: 9-7-5-3-1
Total Votes/(First-Place Votes)
1. Spencer Lee, Iowa 84 (7)
2. Yianni Diakomihalis, Cornell 76 (3)
3. Hayden Hidlay, North Carolina State 44
4. Evan Wick, Wisconsin 16
5. Nick Lee, Penn State 14
6. Tariq Wilson, North Carolina State 13
7. Alex Marinelli, Iowa 3
InterMat Freshman of the Year Past Winners:
2017: Mark Hall, Penn State
2016: Jason Nolf, Penn State
2015: Isaiah Martinez, Illinois
2014: Jason Tsirtsis, Northwestern
2013: Alex Dieringer, Oklahoma State
2012: Logan Stieber, Ohio State
2011: David Taylor, Penn State
2010: Kyle Dake, Cornell
2009: Andrew Howe, Wisconsin
2008: Mike Grey, Cornell
2007: Jake Varner, Iowa State
2006: Dustin Schlatter, Minnesota