Two-time Hodge Trophy winner Gable Steveson (Photo courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)
MINNEAPOLIS - For the second time in his illustrious career, Gable Steveson has been selected as the winner of the WIN Magazine/Culture House Dan Hodge Trophy, an award given to the nation's most dominant wrestler each season. Steveson had been selected as a co-winner last season alongside Iowa's Spencer Lee, but this season he stands alone as the best wrestler in collegiate wrestling.
The senior heavyweight is coming off the heels of his third-straight undefeated season as he capped it off with a second NCAA title, defeating Arizona State's Cohlton Schultz via 6-2 decision in the heavyweight finals in Detroit. Steveson wrapped his 2021-22 campaign with a 18-0 record, with 15 of those victories coming by way of bonus points. He recorded seven major decisions, six technical falls, and one pin. He also closes out his career on a 52-match win streak, which is the fourth longest streak in program history.
With the award win, Steveson becomes just the sixth multiple-time Dan Hodge Trophy winner, joining the likes of Cael Sanderson, Ben Askren, David Taylor, Zain Retherford, and Spencer Lee. He also becomes the only heavyweight to win the award multiple times, surpassing former heavyweights Kerry McCoy, Stephen Neal, and Steve Mocco, who were all single-time winners.
The Apple Valley, Minn., native is also the first wrestler in Golden Gopher history to become a two-time Dan Hodge Trophy winner. Jayson Ness remains the only other Gopher to achieve the award, doing so in 2010 when he went a perfect 31-0 en route to 133-pound NCAA title, pinning 19 of his opponents throughout the year.
Created by WIN founder Mike Chapman, 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.
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.
With this being the final accolade to be added to Steveson's resume, he will undoubtedly go down as one of the greatest to ever strap up the Maroon & Gold singlet. Steveson finishes his time at Minnesota with the program's best career winning percentage with an 85-2 record (.977), earning two NCAA championships, three Big Ten championships, and now two Dan Hodge trophies.