Franklin Regional wrestler Spears chooses Brown, will enroll in 2021

Friday, April 3, 2020 | 6:14 PM

Mason Spears has aspirations of being a surgeon.

He has found a college that will help him realize that dream.

He’ll also get to continue with his other passion — wrestling.

The Franklin Regional senior committed to wrestle at Brown University on Thursday.

“I was looking for a school that was going to suit my athletic needs as well as academic needs,” he said. “I felt like Brown was the perfect place for me.”

Spears chose Brown over George Mason and Arizona State.

He plans to have a gap year next year to continue his training and will enroll in the fall of 2021.

“The Ivy league is a great fit for him,” FR coach Matt Lebe said. “He’s a very strong student-athlete. He fits that model. It was something he always had his mind set on. It was neat to watch him work hard all year with that goal in mind. I think he’ll do great there.”

A 4.05 student with a class load filled with advanced placement and honors courses, Spears showed his dedication on the mat and in the classroom this year.

He wrapped up his high school wrestling career with a sixth-place finish at 145 pounds at the PIAA Class AAA tournament last month in Hershey.

The Section 1 and WPIAL runner-up lost to Hempfield junior Ty Linsenbigler in the section and WPIAL finals, the Powerade tournament fifth-place consolation bout and PIAA fifth-place match.

“I think (the season) went pretty well,” Spears said. “I think I could have placed higher at states. I’m proud of what I accomplished this year.”

He finished the season 37-12 and was 96-44 for his career. He also was selected to participate in the prestigious Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic, which was postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.

“He’s very strong and he’s a just stingy, hard-nosed kind of kid,” Lebe said. “He makes you work for every point, and he works for every point.”

Spears hopes to use that work ethic to succeed at the next level. He knows it will take talent and dedication to excel at the Providence, R.I., institution.

“Obviously, I’m expecting fierce competition,” he said. “I’m expecting to be pushed to be my best every day academically and athletically. That’s what I was looking for in this recruiting process.”

Training has proved challenging in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic as Spears has been forced find alternate methods to stay in shape while in isolation.

“I’ve been consistently working out, trying to maintain my shape,” he said. “I’ve been running on the treadmill and running in the parks, keeping my conditioning up.

“I can’t sit still ever. I’m always trying to find the next workout or the next way to get better. I have to find ways to get the same intensity of a workout, but not necessarily on the mat or with other people. I have to push myself even more than I already have.”

That mentality should help bolster the lineup for the Bears, who were 4-9 overall and 4-8 in the Division I Ivy League this season.

“At the end of last year, he wasn’t getting the recruitment he hoped for He just worked,” Lebe said. “It’s a big philosophy of ours. You can accomplish a lot if you work hard.”

Bill Hartlep is the TribLive sports editor. A Pittsburgh native and Point Park graduate, he joined the Trib in 2004, covering high school sports. He held various editing roles before assuming his current position in 2019. He can be reached at


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