Gophers' Steveson wins Hodge again as top college wrestler

Associated Press

Newton, Iowa — Olympic gold medalist and two-time NCAA champion Gable Steveson of Minnesota has been named repeat winner of the Dan Hodge Trophy as the top college wrestler.

WIN magazine on Monday announced Steveson had received 49 of 59 first-place votes from a panel of retired coaches, a representative from each of the national wrestling organizations, media members, past winners and fans.

Minnesota's Gable Steveson leaves his shoes on the mat, a sign of retirement in wrestling, after defeating Arizona State's Cohlton Schultz during their heavyweight match in the finals of the NCAA Division I wrestling championships in Detroit, Saturday, March 19, 2022.

Three-time NCAA champion Yianni Diakomihalis of Cornell was runner-up and two-time national champ Nick Lee of Penn State was third.

Steveson won the Olympic gold medal in Tokyo in August, scoring two takedowns in the last 10 seconds to beat Geno Petriashvili of Georgia 8-5 in the 125-kilogram final.

Steveson won 6-2 over Arizona State's Cohlton Schultz in the NCAA finals in Detroit on March 19. He is the first heavyweight to win the Hodge Award twice and second Minnesota wrestler to win it, following 133-pounder Jayson Ness in 2010.

Criteria for the Hodge are record, bonus-point percentage, quality of competition and sportsmanship. Gable earned bonus points in 83% of his matches while going 18-0.

Gable left his shoes on the mat after winning his NCAA title, signifying his retirement from amateur wrestling. He has already signed a professional wrestling contract with WWE.

“Gable is one of the best competitors I have ever been around,” Minnesota coach Brandon Eggum said. “He hasn’t even hit his prime yet and we might be seeing the greatest heavyweight ever.”

The Dan Hodge Award is named for the undefeated, three-time NCAA champion at 177 pounds for Oklahoma.