NCAA Champion Gable Steveson has been named a finalist for the 2021 WIN Magazine/Culture House Dan Hodge Trophy. The Hodge Trophy is college wrestling’s top individual honor.
Fans are encouraged to participate in the official Hodge Trophy fan vote, which opens today and runs through Saturday, March 27 at 5 p.m. The winner of the fan vote will receive five first-place ballots to be added to those cast by by the Hodge Trophy Voting Committee. The official Committee is made up of all past Hodge winners, a retired college coach from each region, and national media members.
Steveson completed his second straight unbeaten season this past weekend with his first NCAA heavyweight title. His road to the title included a 16-6 major decision against fifth-seed Tony Cassioppi of Iowa in the semifinals and 8-4 decision in the finals against No. 2 Mason Parris of Michigan. Steveson tied for the tournament lead with 24.5 team points.
Steveson compiled a 17-0 season record with 14 of the 17 wins resulting in bonus points. He had three major decisions, four pins and seven technical falls and gave up just one takedown. Steveson recorded the second-fastest pin in school history with his 13-second fall against Michigan State’s Connor Bowes in January. He added a 34-second pin against No. 6 Luke Luffman of Illinois in February.
A native of Apple Valley, Minn., Steveson is a three-time All-American and the reigning two-time Big Ten Champion. He has a 67-2 career record and has not lost since the semifinals of the 2019 NCAA Championships. Steveson finished 2021 on a 34-match win streak and owns the 10th- and 14th-longest streaks in school history (34 & 30).
Now a two-time finalist for the Hodge Trophy, Steveson would become the second Gopher to win the award. Jayson Ness was the 2010 recipient.
The Hodge finalists are (alphabetically) are Penn State junior Roman Bravo-Young (133), Penn State sophomore Aaron Brooks (184), Iowa State sophomore David Carr (157), Iowa senior Spencer Lee (125), North Carolina junior Austin O’Connor (149 ),and Steveson (Hwt).
The award is named after the late Dan Hodge, the legendary wrestler who was a three-time NCAA champion (1955-57) at the University of Oklahoma. Hodge was 46-0 with 36 pins and never allowed a takedown in his college career. He is still the only wrestler to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Primary criteria for the award are a wrestler’s record, number of pins, dominance and quality of competition. Past credentials, sportsmanship/citizenship and heart are used as secondary criteria in years where two finalists’ stats are nearly equal.
The 2021 Hodge winner will be announced at 12 p.m. CST on Monday, March 29.