Wrestling Insider Newsmagazine today officially named Kyle Dake as the winner of the prestigious Hodge Trophy. The Hodge Trophy, named after Oklahoma University's Dan Hodge, is awarded annually to the nation's best collegiate wrestler. Criteria for the award include (per WIN's website) "a wrestler's record, number of pins, dominance on the mat, past credentials, quality of competition, sportsmanship/citizenship and heart."
I'll apply the award's criteria to Dake:
- Record - Dake was undefeated
- Number of pins- As of March 6, Dake had the second most pins in college wrestling, Dustin Kilgore, national runner up at 197 pounds, was first.
- Dominance on the mat- In the NCAA's dominance ranking, which scores wrestlers based on some combination of advanced statistics which I don't really understand, even though it's probably not very complicated, Dake ranked eighth as of March 6. Only three of the seven ahead of Dake actually were in Hodge consideration
- Past credentials- Dake has enjoyed the greatest career for a college wrestler...EVER.
- Quality of competition- Dake wrestles in the EIWA, college wrestling's second toughest conference, he won the prestigious Southern Scuffle and Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational and he beat David Taylor, last year's Hodge winner, three times. The first time was in the NWCA all star meet which is technically an exhibition but should be considered by the award, the third time was in the national finals.
- Sportsmanship/Citizenship- Not everyone likes Kyle, but I've never heard him described as a bad sport or citizen.
- Heart- I'm not really sure what exactly this is, but if anyone has heart, it is Kyle Dake who intentionally bumped up a weight to face the toughest competitor and to make history.
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 Willson Mont. St.-Northern
2003 Eric Larkin Arizona State
2002 Cael Sanderson Iowa State
2001 Cael Sanderson Iowa State
2001 Nick Ackerman Simpson College
2000 Cael Sanderson Iowa State
1999 Stephen Neal Cal State Bakersfield
1998 Mark Ironside Iowa
1997 Kerry McCoy Penn State
1996 Les Gutches Oregon State
1995 T.J. Jaworsky North Carolina