Spencer Lee, Tom Brands, don’t care about rankings once the whistle blows

Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 10:53 PM CST
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - No. 1 vs No. 2 certainly attracts hype, but the rankings don’t matter to Iowa’s leaders.

“Rankings don’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things just a number people put to try to hype up matches,” said Senior Spencer Lee, who is riding a 6-match pin streak. “When two people walk out in the middle of the mat you’re zero and zero.”

Lee shares his philosophy on rankings with his head coach Tom Brands.

“Rankings create the buzz they create the fanfare and all that,” Brands said. “When you step on the mat they really don’t mean anything. Everybody has a knockout blow in this sport.”

This Friday will be the third time in the last 4 seasons Iowa and Penn State will meet as number 1 and number 2 in the country, but it’s the first time the Hawkeyes will travel to Penn State since 2019.

“I think the environment’s great you’re getting 16,000 people in a 15,900 seat arena,” Brands said of the Bryce Jordan Center in Happy Valley.

It’s a match big enough to humble even the best. Lee says of course he’s nervous, but he’s been nervous for his last 48 wins.

“I get pretty dang nervous for any match no matter who it is,” Lee said. “I’m gonna be nervous I’m gonna get ready for it like it’s the biggest match in the world cause it is cause it’s the next one.”