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Breaking Down the 2020 Hodge Trophy Race

Valencia_Zahid

photo courtesy of Cam Kramer

Last week, we discussed the top collegiate freshmen of the 2019-20 season and their prospects for the remainder of the first season. Now, we’re moving on to the Hodge Trophy. In the preseason, we released an article that outlined some of the top candidates for the award. At the halfway point of the season, we’ve revised our list and updated it based on some of the happenings from the first two-plus months of action. While there are plenty of credible candidates for the award, we have just focused on 11 wrestlers at eight weight classes. 

Before we get into the wrestlers, here’s a quick refresher of the Hodge Trophy voting criteria. 

1) Record 2) Number of pins 3) Dominance 4) Past Credentials 5) Quality of Competition 6) Sportsmanship/Citizenship 7) Heart

8) Mark Hall (Penn State) / Michael Kemerer (Iowa)

As of now, both Mark Hall and Michael Kemerer are undefeated and ranked prominently at the 174 lb weight class. Hall is first and Kemerer is third. Both have been dominant thus far. Hall is 14-0 with seven falls, two techs, two major decisions, and a disqualification that came when his opponent was stalled out. Hall’s only regular decision win of the year came against second-ranked Jordan Kutler (Lehigh) and had a five-point margin of victory. In the past, Hall has had a reputation for being too defensive for some fans liking against top-level opponents. That could be a thing of the past as an 11-3 major over Anthony Valencia and a : 58-second fall over national qualifier Spencer Carey (Navy) may indicate. While it may not be an accurate assessment, it could be a label that stands in the back of the minds of voters who don’t do their homework. This season, Hall has nearly doubled his bonus percentage (45% to 86%), while his seven falls already have surpassed last year's total of six. 

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