With the postseason rapidly approaching, TOM has decided to tackle one of wrestling fan’s favorite yearly debates. Who’s winning the Hodge Trophy? Last year’s winner was Zain Retherford (Penn State), who became only the fourth wrestlers to win the award twice. In order behind Retherford was Bo Nickal, Seth Gross (South Dakota State) and Zahid Valencia (Arizona State). Neither Gross or Valencia will be in contention this season since Gross is out due to an injury and Valencia suffered an early season loss, the question is who else along with Nickal will contend for the coveted award?
As a reminder the Hodge Trophy is awarded based on 1) record 2) pins 3) dominance 4) past credentials 5) quality of competition 6) sportsmanship/citizenship 7) heart. I will break down each of the first five criteria for nine of the top candidates. Heart is not included because frankly, I believe all nine of these wrestlers have the “heart” to be considered. While we will not go into detail with the sportsmanship/citizenship criteria, there could be some voters who have been turned off with celebrations from a few of the candidates. Personally, I don’t agree with it, but some voters may be turned off by those type of actions.
Here are the top nine candidates, in order of least likely to come home with the hardware, to most likely.
9) Mark Hall (Penn State) Jr
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