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Bo Nickal Wins the 2019 Dan Hodge Trophy

Nickal, Bo

photo courtesy of Richard Immel

Today WIN Magazine announced that Penn State’s 197 lber Bo Nickal has won the Dan Hodge Trophy for the 2018-19 season, which is presented annually to the top collegiate wrestler in the nation. Nickal received 37 of the 51 first-place votes from the Hodge Trophy Committee and edged out teammate Jason Nolf, who received 10 first-place votes. It is the third consecutive year that a Nittany Lion grappler had come away with the honor. 149 lber Zain Retherford won the award in the 2017 and 2018 seasons. The other two finalists for the award were NCAA Champions Anthony Ashnault (Rutgers) and Yianni Diakomihalis (Cornell).

Bo finished his career on a 68-match winning streak and captured an NCAA title for the third consecutive season. Nickal 18 falls led all of the finalists, with 15 from Nolf as the second highest total. Pins are a primary criteria for the award, as are a wrestlers record, dominance, and quality of competition. Other items that are used past credentials, sportsmanship/citizenship and heart, are also considered. Bo’s 2018-19 season includes a 30-0 record, with 18 falls, three technical falls, and six major decisions. Of his three regular decisions, one came in the Big Ten finals, and the other was in the NCAA finals. For his career, Nickal compiled a 120-3 record, is a four-time All-American, four-time NCAA finalist, three-time NCAA champion. He leaves State College second on the school’s all-time list for pins and 13th in wins. Bo was also named the NCAA’s Most Dominant Wrestler in 2019, as well as the co-Wrestler of the Year in the Big Ten.

These are the all-time winners of the Hodge Trophy:

2019 – Bo Nickal (Penn State)

2018 – Zain Retherford (Penn State)

2017 – Zain Retherford (Penn State)

2016 – Alex Dieringer (Oklahoma State)

2015 – Logan Stieber (Ohio State)

2014 – David Taylor (Penn State)

2013 – Kyle Dake (Cornell)

2012 – David Taylor (Penn State)

2011 – Jordan Burroughs (Nebraska)

2010 – Jayson Ness (Minnesota)

2009 – Jake Herbert (Northwestern)

2008 – Brent Metcalf (Iowa)

2007 – Ben Askren (Missouri)

2006 – Ben Askren (Missouri)

2005 – Steve Mocco (Oklahoma State)

2004 – Emmett Wilson (Montana State-Northern)

2003 – Eric Larkin (Arizona State)

2002 – Cael Sanderson (Iowa State)

2001 – Cael Sanderson (Iowa State) / Nick Ackerman (Simpson)

2000 – Cael Sanderson (Iowa State)

1999 – Stephen Neal (CSU Bakersfield)

1998 – Mark Ironside (Iowa)

1997 – Kerry McCoy (Penn State)

1996 – Les Gutches (Oregon State)

1995 – TJ Jaworsky (North Carolina)

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