Iowa Wrestler Spencer Lee Wins National Championship With ‘No ACLs’

IOWA CITY, IA/USA - AUGUST 7, 2015: Dan Gable head wrestling coach statue at the University of Iowa. The University of Iowa is a flagship public research university.


Iowa wrestling star Spencer Lee took the mat in St. Louis over the weekend. When all was said and done, Lee claimed the 125-pound national title which was the third NCAA wrestling championship of his career.

That in itself is impressive, but after his big win Lee revealed something that made his win even more impressive: he was wrestling with “no ACLs.”

Lee revealed he tore his ACL just over a week ago but pushed through for his match and came out on top.

“I mean, eight days ago I tore my ACL in my other knee. I’m wrestling with no ACLs,” Lee told ESPN. “Whatever man. I didn’t want to tell anyone, because F excuses. Excuses are for wusses.

“That was a tough tournament for me. I could barely wrestle. I could barely shoot. I can’t sprawl. But you know what? I believe in my coaching staff and everybody who believed in me, and here I am.”


Lee discussed the difficulties of battling his injury with the Des Moines Register saying, “It was hard. But I said, if I’m going to lose, I’m going to lose my way. That’s it. It doesn’t matter. If I lost, I probably wouldn’t have said anything, because that’s just how I am. You have to win no matter what. That’s what defines a champion.

“I’m kind of upset I told the world. I don’t make excuses, man.”

Lee is familiar with ACL injuries after suffering his first ACL tear during his high school career. He later injured his other ACL in the 2019 national championship.

In part because of Lee’s toughness, Iowa was able to clinch its 24th national team championship which is the Hawkeyes’ first in 11 years.

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