Spencer Lee tops Nico Megaludis in battle of former Franklin Regional wrestling greats

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Saturday, December 2, 2023 | 11:01 AM


An all-Franklin Regional matchup in a post-college wrestling match with Olympic-qualifying possibly on the line?

Yes, local fans will take a tall glass of that.

Spencer Lee, the superstar who went on to a brilliant and albeit injury-plagued college career at Iowa, met Nico Megaludis, a former Penn State standout, in the finals of the Bill Farrell International Open at New York City Athletic Club.

Lee, a three-time NCAA champion who continues to move the needle, scored a tight, 7-4 decision to take the title over his fellow Panthers’ alum and American at 57 kilograms and advance to the Olympic trials.

It was not easy for Lee, nor was it expected to be. Lee wrestled sans a knee brace.

Megaludis battled Lee, preventing him from using one of his signature, split-second takedowns to get an early advantage.

Megaludis, a 2022 U.S. Open champion, also has dealt with nagging injuries but has managed to stay sharp for large-scale events.

After reaching the semifinals of the U.S. Open in the spring in Las Vegas, Lee had to forfeit because of a leg injury.

Many will remember Lee’s stunning loss at the NCAA Championships in March when he was pinned by Purdue’s Matt Ramos in Tulsa, Okla.

It was one of the greatest upsets in NCAA history.

Lee will have about five months to recover before the Olympic trials begin in April, 2024.

Panthers climbing back

Franklin Regional is used to being one of the top teams in PIHL Class 2A hockey. But a slow start has the Panthers pushing up from the bottom.

Coming out of the Thanksgiving break, they were 2-2-0-1 and alone in ninth place out of 11 teams.

The Panthers broke out of a 1-4 start with a 12-0 win over Norwin.

Matt Rutkowski was tied for sixth in 2A in scoring with 16 points (12 goals, 4 assists), while Max Williams and Brendan Yohe had nine points apiece.

Johns all-conference

Washington & Jefferson senior linebacker Justin Johns (Franklin Regional) piled up a career-high 23 tackles in the Presidents’ 46-21 win over the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in the ECAC James Lynah Bowl.

Johns was named to the All-Presidents’ Athletic Conference second team. Johns, a three-time all-conference pick, led the team with 76 tackles, raising his career total to 246.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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