ShareThis Page

Lee beaten at buzzer in PIAA Class AAA 126-pound wrestling final

Paul Schofield
| Saturday, March 11, 2017, 9:19 p.m.

HERSHEY — Exeter Township senior Austin DeSanto did the unthinkable Saturday: He defeated Franklin Regional senior Spencer Lee.

Or did he?

DeSanto was awarded a takedown at the buzzer, even though the clock showed 0:00 on TV replay as the two rolled to the mat at the PIAA Class AAA wrestling championships. The large crowd at Giant Center was stunned and roared when DeSanto was awarded the 6-5 win.

DeSanto's victory in the 126-pound final denied Lee a fourth PIAA title. It was the first loss of his high school career, leaving him at 144-1, 35-1 this season.

Lee defeated DeSanto by a technical fall in the 2016 final, but DeSanto, who wrestled at 132, decided he wanted another shot at Lee, who was wrestling with a tear of his right ACL for the past month.

“I've been preparing for this match since last year's final,” DeSanto said. “We didn't game plan much. We worked on bottom a lot. We knew he was good on top with his bars and running the half.

“I didn't want to be on the bottom, and I was really scared when he took me down with 40 seconds left in the second. I thought he was going to rip my arm off.”

DeSanto said he could tell Lee wasn't 100 percent.

“I have great respect for him for wrestling,” DeSanto said. “He's a world champion for a reason. Coming to states with a torn ACL is incredible.”

DeSanto didn't realize that he took Lee down three times in the third period.

“I never expected to take him down,” DeSanto said. “When I was awarded the win, everything went blank.”

Lee grabbed a 2-0 lead in the second period with a takedown. In the third period, DeSanto let him up and trailed 3-0.

DeSanto got his first takedown with 1 minute, 10 seconds left. After letting Lee loose, he tied the match with a takedown with 30 seconds left. DeSanto immediately let him go and worked for the winning takedown, which was discussed by the officials before they raised DeSanto's hand.

Lee did not want to be interviewed, but he did indicate he was having surgery soon. He hadn't lost since he was in eighth grade.

Larry Lee, Spencer's dad, said his son didn't want to end the season in the medical office. He had an MRI three weeks ago and was cleared to wrestle by Dr. James Bradley of Pittsburgh.

“Spencer hasn't practiced on the mat for three weeks,” Larry Lee said. “We let the injury calm down and were hoping to get him through. We were fortunate to get him through the WPIAL. We hoped he had enough to finish his run.”

Lee was trying to become the 13th wrestler in the state to become a four-time champion and only the fifth wrestler to go undefeated and untied, a group that includes Jefferson-Morgan's Cary Kolat (1989-92).

But Lee had to settle for being a three-time champion.

Lee has always had high expectations of himself.

When he transferred to Franklin Regional from Saegertown before his freshman year, he was ranked the No. 10-ranked eighth-grader in the country. He was considered the next Cary Kolat.

He lived up to those expectations until Saturday. He is a three-time world champion and a four-time WPIAL champion.

During an interview at the 2014 Ironman Tournament, Lee said he wanted to become a four-time undefeated PIAA champion.

“He's always had high goals: world champion, PIAA champion and future Olympic champion,” said former Franklin Regional coach Eric Mausser, who coached Lee the previous three years before taking a principal position at Mercer. “It's all part of the process of getting those goals.”

Lee defeated Bethlehem Catholic sophomore Ryan Anderson, 6-0, in the semifinals. He wasn't pleased with his performance. Anderson told his coaches he was happy not to get majored by Lee.

Anderson didn't do much wrestle defensively except wrestle freestyle by lying on the mat. He didn't take a single shot.

Mausser said he wasn't worried.

“He's hard on himself,” Mausser said. “He likes when kids wrestle and come after him. He expects to dominate everyone. He's a perfectionist.”

Jefferson-Morgan junior Gavin Teasdale, who is on a similar path as Lee, said, “If Spencer is on his A-game, there should be nobody coming within a tech of him.”

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at pschofield@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.

Franklin Regional’s Spencer Lee reacts as Exeter Township’s Austin DeSanto wins in the PIAA Class AAA 126lb championship at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017. DeSanto won 6-5 decision.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Franklin Regional’s Spencer Lee reacts as Exeter Township’s Austin DeSanto wins in the PIAA Class AAA 126lb championship at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017. DeSanto won 6-5 decision.
Franklin Regional’s Spencer Lee wrestles Exeter Township’s Austin DeSanto in the PIAA Class AAA 126lb championship at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017. DeSanto won 6-5 decision.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Franklin Regional’s Spencer Lee wrestles Exeter Township’s Austin DeSanto in the PIAA Class AAA 126lb championship at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017. DeSanto won 6-5 decision.
Coaches watch as Franklin Regional’s Spencer Lee wrestles Exeter Township’s Austin DeSanto in the PIAA Class AAA 126lb championship at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017. DeSanto won 6-5 decision.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Coaches watch as Franklin Regional’s Spencer Lee wrestles Exeter Township’s Austin DeSanto in the PIAA Class AAA 126lb championship at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017. DeSanto won 6-5 decision.
Franklin Regional’s Spencer Lee stands at the podium with Exeter Township’s Austin DeSanto in the PIAA Class AAA 126lb championship at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017. DeSanto won 6-5 decision.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Franklin Regional’s Spencer Lee stands at the podium with Exeter Township’s Austin DeSanto in the PIAA Class AAA 126lb championship at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017. DeSanto won 6-5 decision.
Franklin Regional’s Spencer Lee watches the referees make the decision as he wrestles Exeter Township’s Austin DeSanto in the PIAA Class AAA 126lb championship at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017. DeSanto won 6-5 decision.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Franklin Regional’s Spencer Lee watches the referees make the decision as he wrestles Exeter Township’s Austin DeSanto in the PIAA Class AAA 126lb championship at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017. DeSanto won 6-5 decision.
Franklin Regional’s Spencer Lee wrestles Exeter Township’s Austin DeSanto in the PIAA Class AAA 126lb championship at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017. DeSanto won 6-5 decision.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Franklin Regional’s Spencer Lee wrestles Exeter Township’s Austin DeSanto in the PIAA Class AAA 126lb championship at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017. DeSanto won 6-5 decision.
Franklin Regional’s Spencer Lee is announced before wrestling Exeter Township’s Austin DeSanto during PIAA Class AAA 126lb championship at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017. DeSanto won 6-5 decision.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Franklin Regional’s Spencer Lee is announced before wrestling Exeter Township’s Austin DeSanto during PIAA Class AAA 126lb championship at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017. DeSanto won 6-5 decision.
Franklin Regional’s Spencer Lee is announced before wrestling Exeter Township’s Austin DeSanto during PIAA Class AAA 126-pound championship at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017. DeSanto won 6-5 decision.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Franklin Regional’s Spencer Lee is announced before wrestling Exeter Township’s Austin DeSanto during PIAA Class AAA 126-pound championship at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017. DeSanto won 6-5 decision.
Franklin Regional’s Spencer Lee listens to national anthem before wrestling Exeter Township’s Austin DeSanto during PIAA Class AAA 126lb championship at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017. DeSanto won 6-5 decision.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Franklin Regional’s Spencer Lee listens to national anthem before wrestling Exeter Township’s Austin DeSanto during PIAA Class AAA 126lb championship at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017. DeSanto won 6-5 decision.
Franklin Regional’s Spencer Lee warms up before wrestling Exeter Township’s Austin DeSanto during PIAA Class AAA 126lb championship at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017. DeSanto won 6-5 decision.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Franklin Regional’s Spencer Lee warms up before wrestling Exeter Township’s Austin DeSanto during PIAA Class AAA 126lb championship at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017. DeSanto won 6-5 decision.
Franklin Regional's Spencer Lee wrestles Bethlehem Catholic's Ryan Anderson in the 126-lb bout during a Class AAA semifinal of the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championship tournament at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017. Lee won by a 6-0 decision.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Franklin Regional's Spencer Lee wrestles Bethlehem Catholic's Ryan Anderson in the 126-lb bout during a Class AAA semifinal of the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championship tournament at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017. Lee won by a 6-0 decision.
Franklin Regional's Spencer Lee has his hand raised after beating Bethlehem Catholic's Ryan Anderson in the 126-lb bout during a Class AAA semifinal of the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championship tournament at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017. Lee won by a 6-0 decision.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Franklin Regional's Spencer Lee has his hand raised after beating Bethlehem Catholic's Ryan Anderson in the 126-lb bout during a Class AAA semifinal of the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championship tournament at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017. Lee won by a 6-0 decision.
Franklin Regional's Spencer Lee pauses with coaches while wrestling Bethlehem Catholic's Ryan Anderson in the 126-lb bout during a Class AAA semifinal of the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championship tournament at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017. Lee won by a 6-0 decision.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Franklin Regional's Spencer Lee pauses with coaches while wrestling Bethlehem Catholic's Ryan Anderson in the 126-lb bout during a Class AAA semifinal of the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championship tournament at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017. Lee won by a 6-0 decision.
Franklin Regional's Spencer Lee warms up before wrestling Bethlehem Catholic's Ryan Anderson in the 126-lb bout during a Class AAA semifinal of the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championship tournament at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Franklin Regional's Spencer Lee warms up before wrestling Bethlehem Catholic's Ryan Anderson in the 126-lb bout during a Class AAA semifinal of the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championship tournament at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017.
Franklin Regional's Spencer Lee warms up before wrestling Bethlehem Catholic's Ryan Anderson in the 126-lb bout during a Class AAA semifinal of the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championship tournament at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Franklin Regional's Spencer Lee warms up before wrestling Bethlehem Catholic's Ryan Anderson in the 126-lb bout during a Class AAA semifinal of the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championship tournament at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017.
Franklin Regional's Spencer Lee wrestles Bethlehem Catholic's Ryan Anderson in the 126-lb bout during a Class AAA semifinal of the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championship tournament at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017. Lee won by a 6-0 decision.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Franklin Regional's Spencer Lee wrestles Bethlehem Catholic's Ryan Anderson in the 126-lb bout during a Class AAA semifinal of the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championship tournament at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017. Lee won by a 6-0 decision.
Franklin Regional's Spencer Lee wrestles Bethlehem Catholic's Ryan Anderson in the 126-lb bout during a Class AAA semifinal of the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championship tournament at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017. Lee won by a 6-0 decision.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Franklin Regional's Spencer Lee wrestles Bethlehem Catholic's Ryan Anderson in the 126-lb bout during a Class AAA semifinal of the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championship tournament at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017. Lee won by a 6-0 decision.
Franklin Regional's Spencer Lee warms up before wrestling Bethlehem Catholic's Ryan Anderson in the 126-lb bout during a Class AAA semifinal of the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championship tournament at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Franklin Regional's Spencer Lee warms up before wrestling Bethlehem Catholic's Ryan Anderson in the 126-lb bout during a Class AAA semifinal of the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championship tournament at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017.
Franklin Regional's Spencer Lee changes head gear while wrestling Bethlehem Catholic's Ryan Anderson in the 126-lb bout during a Class AAA semifinal of the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championship tournament at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017. Lee won by a 6-0 decision.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Franklin Regional's Spencer Lee changes head gear while wrestling Bethlehem Catholic's Ryan Anderson in the 126-lb bout during a Class AAA semifinal of the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championship tournament at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017. Lee won by a 6-0 decision.
Franklin Regional's Spencer Lee pauses with coaches while wrestling Bethlehem Catholic's Ryan Anderson in the 126-lb bout during a Class AAA semifinal of the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championship tournament at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017. Lee won by a 6-0 decision.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Franklin Regional's Spencer Lee pauses with coaches while wrestling Bethlehem Catholic's Ryan Anderson in the 126-lb bout during a Class AAA semifinal of the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championship tournament at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017. Lee won by a 6-0 decision.
Franklin Regional's Spencer Lee wrestles Bethlehem Catholic's Ryan Anderson in the 126-lb bout during a Class AAA semifinal of the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championship tournament at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017. Lee won by a 6-0 decision.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Franklin Regional's Spencer Lee wrestles Bethlehem Catholic's Ryan Anderson in the 126-lb bout during a Class AAA semifinal of the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championship tournament at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017. Lee won by a 6-0 decision.
Franklin Regional's Spencer Lee warms up before wrestling Bethlehem Catholic's Ryan Anderson in the 126-lb bout during a Class AAA semifinal of the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championship tournament at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Franklin Regional's Spencer Lee warms up before wrestling Bethlehem Catholic's Ryan Anderson in the 126-lb bout during a Class AAA semifinal of the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championship tournament at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017.
Franklin Regional's Spencer Lee wrestles Bethlehem Catholic's Ryan Anderson in the 126-lb bout during a Class AAA semifinal of the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championship tournament at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017. Lee won by a 6-0 decision.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Franklin Regional's Spencer Lee wrestles Bethlehem Catholic's Ryan Anderson in the 126-lb bout during a Class AAA semifinal of the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championship tournament at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017. Lee won by a 6-0 decision.
Franklin Regional's Spencer Lee wrestles Bethlehem Catholic's Ryan Anderson in the 126-lb bout during a Class AAA semifinal of the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championship tournament at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017. Lee won by a 6-0 decision.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Franklin Regional's Spencer Lee wrestles Bethlehem Catholic's Ryan Anderson in the 126-lb bout during a Class AAA semifinal of the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championship tournament at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday March 11, 2017. Lee won by a 6-0 decision.
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.