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Just Trying To Enjoy It: Penn State Wrestling’s Nick Lee On Stepping Into Leadership Role

As a two-time All-American who has placed twice in the NCAA tournament, Penn State wrestler and true junior Nick Lee knows a thing or two about winning. With two national tournament finishes in fifth place as well as two straight seasons with more than 30 wins, Lee has only continued to get better, with plans to continue to climb the podium this season.

However, that’s not the only thing Lee is after.

Now in his third season, Nick Lee, like any wrestler coached by Cael Sanderson will tell you, is focused on trying to give his best performance every match and enjoy the ride.

“I just kind of enjoy my own performance if I think I’m doing well in a certain area,” said Lee. “I don’t really think about the other guy that much, maybe that’s different for some guys. But I just want to dominate in every position.”

By focusing on himself and the things he can control, Lee has said he has been able to improve his skills and technique by accessing his own performances in big matches throughout his career. Staying humble and focusing on one match at a time has been key to Lee’s mental game as well.

“You go into every year 0-0,” he said. “We haven’t won a national tournament this year yet, and no one else has won a national tournament. As far as I know you can’t win a national tournament until March. So we’re just kind of looking forward to being our best selves.”

As an upperclassman, Lee has also been granted the opportunity to serve as a leader for the younger members on the team, including his brother, freshman Joe Lee, who’s redshirting this year. For Nick, it’s been a surreal feeling to be able to offer the advice and support that he himself had been looking for only two years ago.

“I had a lot of questions my freshman year for the older guys,” said Lee. “Now I’m in a position to answer their questions. That’s something big I’ve noticed.”

Lee’s season so far has been about improving mentally and technically, which has allowed him to get better as both a wrestler and a leader. However, with the national tournament less than two months away and his chance for a championship title growing ever closer, he’s not letting that pressure get to him, and he encourages his fellow teammates to do the same.

“I try to enjoy it,” he explained. “You only get four years of this. So, enjoy it, take it all in.”

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About the Author

Katie Moats

Katie Moats is a senior majoring in English, and her goal this year is to get a big girl job. Seriously, though, if you're looking for someone who can write and edit like nobody's business, she's Katelyn Moats on LinkedIn and will literally interview with you tomorrow. You can follow her @k_moats24 on Twitter for stupid content, but if it's something serious, feel free to shoot her an email (preferably in the form of a poem) to [email protected]


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