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Kyle Dake Wins Hodge Trophy-The Heisman Of College Wrestling

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WIN Magazine today announced Cornell University's Kyle Dake as the recipient of the Hodge Trophy. The Hodge is college wrestling's equivalent of football's Heisman. This season Dake became the first wrestler to win four national championships in four different weights.


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.
In light of the Hodge Trophy's criteria, it is clear that Dake not only deserved the award, but had he not received it, the award would have been rendered forever meaningless. The committee of voters understood this-Dake received 41 of 43 first place votes. According to WIN's site, this committee is composed of "former Hodge Trophy winners, national wrestling media, retired college coaches from different regions of the country and a representative from a number of national wrestling organizations". Penn State's Ed Ruth, undefeated national champion at 184 pounds, received the other two first place votes.

Just in case you were wondering, here is a list of all the past Hodge Trophy winners

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 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