Steveson Named Hodge Trophy Finalist; Fan Voting Underway

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.

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Steveson Wins Heavyweight Title at 2021 NCAA Championships

ST. LOUIS, MO – A year after his opportunity to win a national title in front of his home state at U.S. Bank Stadium was taken away by the pandemic, junior Gable Steveson reached the pinnacle of college wrestling on Saturday night. His 8-4 decision against No. 2 Mason Parris of Michigan delivered his first NCAA Championship. He celebrated the victory with his trademark backflip on the mat.

Steveson becomes the first Gopher to win a national title since Tony Nelson won back-to-back crowns in 2012-13 and the 18th to win at least one national title. He is the fourth Minnesota heavyweight since 2000 to finish first joining Nelson, Cole Konrad (2006-07) and Brock Lesnar (2000). Only Ohio State has had multiple winners during that period with two.

Just two weeks removed from a 12-4 major decision against Parris in the Big Ten Championship final, Steveson once again gained control early with a first-period takedown. While rarely threatened, the match remained close throughout. After a Parris escape to start the third cut the lead to 3-2, Steveson pulled away with two more takedowns to seal the win.

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McKee Wins Six Straight to Finish Third; Lee Places Sixth at NCAA Championships

ST. LOUIS, MO – Sophomore Patrick McKee capped off a remarkable run at the NCAA Championships with a third-place finish on Saturday. He finished 7-1 in the tournament with six straight wins. Fellow sophomore Brayton Lee matched his seed with a sixth-place showing at 157 pounds.

Seeded 15th at 125 pounds, McKee became an All-American after four wins on Friday. On Saturday, his roll continued with an 8-3 decision against No. 7 Taylor LaMont of Utah Valley to advance to the third-place match. Facing No. 4 Drew Hildebrandt of Central Michigan and tied at two, McKee’s reversal with eight seconds to go in the second period proved to be the difference. He held off Hildebrandt in the third and added a point for riding time in a 5-3 decision.

With tonight’s final round remaining, McKee is in contention for the Gorriaran Award, which is presented to the wrestler with the most pins in the fewest amount of time. He had three pins on Friday, which currently leads all competitors. John Panning (1972) and Garrett Lowney (2001) are past Gopher recipients of the award.

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Steveson to Wrestle for National Title Saturday Night

ST. LOUIS, MO – Junior heavyweight Gable Steveson will wrestle for a national title on Saturday night at the NCAA Championships in St. Louis. In addition to Steveson, sophomores Patrick McKee and Brayton Lee earned All-America status as the Gophers sit in eighth place in the team race.

Steveson advanced with a 16-6 major decision against fifth-seeded Tony Cassioppi of Iowa. Seeking his fourth win against his Hawkeye foe and second straight major, Steveson scored at will with seven takedowns beginning with his first just 11 seconds into the match.

With his sights set on his first national title, Steveson will face a familiar foe in No. 2 Mason Parris of Michigan. The two have squared off in the last two Big Ten title bouts with Steveson prevailing twice. Two weeks ago, he dominated the Wolverine with a 12-0 major decision. Steveson has now won 33 matches in a row, which is tied for 10th-longest in program history.

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