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Franklin Regional Alumni Spencer Lee, Michael Kemerer Win Big Ten Titles



On Saturday, numerous WPIAL wrestlers shined at the Super Regional tournaments to qualify for the individual PIAA state championships later this month.

On Sunday, two former WPIAL wrestlers dominated the 2021 Big Ten Championship finals.

Former Franklin Regional teammates turned Iowa Hawkeyes Spencer Lee (125 pounds) and Michael Kemerer (174 pounds). With the titles, both earned automatic qualification to the NCAA Tournament later this month.

Any way you look at it, the WPIAL validated its strength as a wrestling hotbed in the Keystone State this weekend.

For Spencer Lee, his 2021 season has allowed Lee the opportunity to further cement his legacy as one of the most dominant wrestlers to ever take to the college mat. On the season, Lee is a perfect 7-0. He has pinned five of his seven opponents, all in the first period, and won the other two bouts by technical fall. He has outscored his opponents 82-7 thus far.

At the Big Ten Championships, Lee was impressive, to say the least. Lee surrendered the first takedown during the 125-pound title bout but went on to outscore Purdue’s Devin Schroder, 21-1, over the next four minutes. He led 11-3 by the end of the first period and terminated the match leading 21-3 with 30 seconds left in the second. He outscored his three opponents in the tournament, 44-7, winning is other two matches by technical fall and once by fall.

After the tournament, Lee was named Big Ten Conference Wrestler of the Year. He also won the award in 2020. He is the third Hawkeyes to earn the award more than once (Royce Alger, 1987-1988; Mark Ironside, 1996-1997-1998).

After claiming his second straight conference title, Lee is poised to capture his third consecutive NCAA crown in as many attempts later this month at NCAAs in St. Louis, Missouri, March 18-20.

At 174 pounds, the Hawkeyes crowned a fourth champion in 174-pounder Michael Kemerer, also a former Franklin Regional product. While Kemerer doesn’t have the lopsided scores to show for his first conference title as a Hawkeye, he was equally dominant in his three wins, which included two over nationally-ranked wrestlers in Logan Massa of Michigan and Carter Starocci of Penn State. First Kemerer opened up his tournament with a first period fall of the No. 8-seed Jared Krattinger of Wisconsin. Then he brought his tournament to a close with a 4-2 win over Massa and a 7-2 win in the finals over Starocci. Kemerer is also a perfect 7-0 on the season.

Kemerer had previously lost in the 157-pound finals in 2017 and 174 finals in 2020.

Lee, Kemerer, Jaydin Eierman (141), and Alex Marinelli (165) were named to the 2021 All-Big Team Team as well.

As a team, Iowa has captured its 37th team title in program history, best in the Big Ten. Iowa’s point total (159.5) is its highest since 1995 (185).

Image courtesy of Iowa Hawkeyes Wrestling.

Iowa head coach, Tom Brands, also took home Big Ten Conference Coach of the Year honors, his fifth career honor (2008, 2009, 2010, 2020, 2021).

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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