Rebel Yell Podcast: Best of the Century salute to Spencer Lee and Maura Huwalt

Friday, June 26, 2020 | 3:36 PM

The WPIAL Battle of the Century was born during a pandemic as a combination to fill the void of the missed March Madness and a way to salute many of the great area scholastic athletes from the now-completed first two decades of the 21st century.

Thirty-two athletes were selected to fill out a boys bracket and a girls bracket and the head-to-head twitter poll battles began on May 1st.

Over 50 days later, Spencer Lee of Franklin Regional and Maura Huwalt of South Park were crowned champions.

Lee, a 2017 graduate of Franklin Regional High School, was one of the best wrestlers the district has ever produced.

He was a four-time individual WPIAL champion at three different weight classes and he captured PIAA state gold three times in two weight classes.

Lee helped the Panthers win back-to-back WPIAL and PIAA Class AAA team championships in 2014 and 2015 and finished with an overall record of 144-1 in his historic career.

In the Battle of the Century, Lee defeated Montae Nicholson of Gateway, Darrelle Revis of Aliquippa, Malik Hooker of New Castle, Luke Hagy of Mt. Lebanon and finally, Tyler Boyd of Clairton in the championship match.

“I don’t know if I would say I’m a better athlete then any of those,” Lee said. “I don’t think I would put myself above any of those guys.”

Huwalt was one of the younger athletes in the girls bracket, a 2019 graduate of South Park High School.

She was a national finalist for Gatorade track and field athlete of the year her senior season after concluding a career in which she won seven WPIAL championships and medaled 15 times while winning a PIAA championship and finishing in the top three 15 times.

Huwalt is the only female thrower in WPIAL history to sweep the shot put, discus and javelin in back-to-back years and to be ranked in the Top 25 all-time in all three events.

She not only shined in the spring in track and field for the Eagles, she also helped her basketball team reach the playoffs all four years while scoring over 1,000 points in a South Park uniform.

In May/June Madness, Huwalt defeated Annessa Schnur of Butler, Kaitlyn Orstein of Mt. Lebanon, Jess Strom of Steel Valley, Lauryn Williams of Rochester and finally, Rachel Martindale of North Allegheny in the finals.

“They all had really impressive resumes,” Huwalt said. “I kept asking myself, ‘I’m considered a great athlete with these guys?’”

In all, 42,621 votes were cast on twitter over the five rounds of the WPIAL Best of the Century event.

Trib HSSN has recorded podcasts with some of the great athletes that were part of this unique event and we will be posting them on the Rebel Yell podcast through July and August, so check out our HSSN social media and website for the releases of these fun chats with WPIAL stars from the last 20 years.

Rebel Yell Podcast: Best of the Century Champions Salute

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