For the second year in a row, University of Iowa 125-pound national champion Spencer Lee has been awarded the WIN Magazine/Culture House Dan Hodge Trophy. The award is presented annually to the nation’s most dominant college wrestler.
Similarly, for the just the second time in its 27-year history, the Hodge committee determined two wrestlers worthy of recognition. Minnesota heavyweight Gable Steveson is also being recognized as a 2021 Hodge Trophy winner. The only other time two trophies were awarded in the same season was 2001, when Cael Sanderson and Nick Ackerman were both recognized.
— NCAA Wrestling (@ncaawrestling) March 29, 2021
Lee won the 125-pound NCAA Championship on March 20. He outscored his five opponents at the national tournament, 59-8, capturing his third career NCAA title and leading Iowa to the team title for the first time since 2010.
Lee was 12-0 in 2021, scoring bonus points in 11 matches and recording five first-period falls. He outscored his 12 opponents, 141-15, and his 91.6 bonus-point percentage led the country.
Not one of Lee’s first eight matches went the seven-minute distance. He had five first-period falls and recorded three technical falls, including a 21-3 win by technical superiority in the finals of the Big Ten Championships. He did not allow a point in the NCAA finals, winning 7-0, the largest margin of victory of any of the 10 NCAA finals matches.
Lee finished the season riding a 35-match winning streak, outscoring his opponents 432-42 during the stretch.
Lee is one of five multi-winners in the history of the award. He won the Hodge Trophy in 2020, earning 51 of a possible 56 first-place votes. He owned the 125-pound weight class in 2020, posting an 18-0 record and outscoring his opponents 234-18. He scored bonus points in 17 of 18 wins last year, recording four first-period falls and nine technical falls.
Steveson completed his second straight unbeaten season with his first NCAA heavyweight title on Saturday, March 20 in St. Louis. His road to the title included a 16-6 major decision against fifth-seed Tony Cassioppi of Iowa in the semifinals and 8-4 decision in the finals against No. 2 Mason Parris of Michigan. Steveson tied Lee for the tournament lead with 24.5 team points.
Steveson compiled a 17-0 season record with 14 of the 17 wins resulting in bonus points. He had three major decisions, four pins and seven technical falls and gave up just one takedown. Steveson recorded the second-fastest pin in school history with his 13-second fall against Michigan State’s Connor Bowes in January. He added a 34-second pin against No. 6 Luke Luffman of Illinois in February.
It is a great honor to share this Hodge Trophy with @LeeSpencerlee36 He is the epitome of greatness and to add myself into this category with him is a truly mind blowing! What a great year it was for us! pic.twitter.com/SQKf8CiUKx— Gable Steveson (@GSteveson) March 29, 2021
The winner of the Hodge Trophy is determined by the Hodge Trophy Voting Committee, made up of past Hodge winners, a retired college coach from each region, and national media members. A fan vote winner receives five.